WOLVES NEED YOUR HELP THIS MONTH AND ALWAYS!
Good High Uintas Preservation Council Friends,
Please let your WILD VOICE howl for WOLF. Important hearings
will be held by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) to determine
whether WOLF is welcome as part of the natural history of Utah— or simply
seen as a nuisance or another recreational hunting/trapping activity! Please
take a moment to read through the upcoming theater. For more information, consult
the High Uintas Preservation Council LYNX,
February 2003, Utahns Welcome Wolf Home. All hearings start at 7PM.
- March 8, Roosevelt, Utah State University Extension (Multi Purpose Room),
987 E. Lagoon St.
- March 9, Vernal, Western Park (Room 3), 302 E. 200 S.
- March 10 Salt Lake City, Department of Natural Resources (Auditorium),
1594 W. North Temple
- March 11, Ogden, Union Station, 2501 Wall Ave.
- March 12, Logan, Bridgerland Applied Technology College (Rooms 1513+1514),
1301 N. 600 W.
- March 15, Cedar City, Cross Hollows Intermediate School, 2215 W. Royal
- March 16, Richfield, Sevier County Administration Building, 250 N. Main
- March 17, Moab, Moab Senior Center, 450 E. 100 N.
- March 18, Price, Castle Valley Center, 755 N. Cedar Hills Drive
- March 19, Spanish Fork, Veterans Center, 400 N. Main St.
(You can go to the Utah
Division of Wildlife Resources at http://www.wildlife.utah.gov/wolf/ and
submit a comment at WolfComments@utah.gov.
It will not necessarily be part of this hearing record.)
Act I- ANCESTRAL HOME
Wolf knows the Uintas. It is recognizable. It is home.
Act II- ENDANGERED SPECIES
After having been nearly rendered extinct in the lower ’48, the wolf
was one of the species that prompted the 1972 Endangered Species Act (ESA),
under which it was formally protected. While a few packs roamed the upper Great
Lakes states, an occasional wolf was seen in MT, WY, ID, even the Uintas. But
for the better part of this century, it appeared only as an apparition with
the material wolf yearning for the last wildness on the Uintas.
Act III- COMING HOME
It took a great deal of time, but as we approached the end of the 20th Century,
wisdom prevailed and wolf was returned to the homeland of Yellowstone and central
Idaho. The evolutionary and ecological dance was a success with wolves finding
this homeland hopeful. For the first time in a long time, elk and moose opened
their eyes to a real wild world.
Act IV- SEVERING THE PROTECTION
Shrieking from many traditional and old thinking hunters, agricultural interests
and politicos who were bent on undoing this remarkable history had its toll.
Entering the 21stcentury, the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) felt the sting
and initiated the process of downlisting the western wolf, first to threatened
status (litigated by conservationists) and eventually de-listing, or severing
it from the vision of the ESA. Nobody doubts the success of the wolf reintroductions,
but many independent biologists note the present wolf populations are disjunct
and small, homogenous and fragile. (Survival and growth “in the wild” has
been a short term proposition-- 4-5 years.) Every one of these factors runs
counter to the standard principles of species recovery—large, diverse,
connected and long recovery times.
Once de-listed the wolf would be managed by state wildlife agencies—institutions
generally recognized as being captured by recreational, hunting, even agriculture
interests. But first it was dependent upon the states of MT, ID and WY to prepare
wolf management plans approved by FWS. The WY plan has been rejected. Thus
wolf remains fully protected pending litigation by both WY and conservationists.
And while all of this was happening, a few wolves, true to their ecological,
wide- ranging behavior, ventured by starlight into northern Utah, and probably
into the Uintas.
Act V- WOLF MANAGEMENT?
For years we have urged the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) to
initiate a public wolf conservation strategy, knowing wolf would sooner than
later seek out this homeland. Finally and reluctantly, they responded as did
the state legislature with the 2003 passage of House Joint Resolution 12. No,
it didn’t say welcome wolf home nor did it parade around a bunch
of stereotypical anti-wolf language. It conservatively instructed UDWR to get
on with a wolf management plan that would highly constrain them when they arrived.
Act VI- A BIASED WOLF WORKING GROUP
UDWR set up a Wolf Working Group (WWG) without the High Uintas Preservation
Council, in spite of our long and deep interest in the issue and our request
to be part of the WWG. We were turned down because we were too pro-wolf! WWG
is composed of 13 organizations, 4 being non-consumptive types. After public
comments, just around the corner, the WWG will prepare by 2005
a wolf management plan, specifically not a conservation strategy. The plan
will primarily be operational once wolf is de-listed. It is nonetheless of
Act VII-YOUR WILD VOICE!!
The essence of a Utah wolf conservation strategy:
- Support the natural recovery of gray wolf populations, not a plan hiding
behind lethal control and a few scattered wolves.
- Assure that large, unroaded habitats are protected and connected
so that wolves may disperse from to assure viable populations. This means
protection of the Bear River Range anchored by the Mt. Naomi Wilderness,
the Green River Corridor, and the Book Cliffs all attached firmly to the
nearly 800,000 acres of the High Uintas Wilderness and surrounding roadless
- Close these lands to snowmobile and ATV use in order to keep core wolf
areas secure. These activities essentially create roads and fragment sensitive
habitats at critical times.
- Support and develop programs that provide education and assistance in management
methods, including reimbursement for predation upon livestock. But while
wolves and domestic livestock can be compatible, the only long-term solution,
particularly in sheep country, is to phase out sheep permits on these core
wolf areas of public land. Because livestock grazing permits are so crucial
to ranchers, part of the wolf compensation fund should be utilized to purchase
public land grazing permits, phased out over 10 years and then be dedicated
- No recreational hunting of wolves can be allowed. There is no biological
rationale for sport hunting; wolves regulate themselves through strong territorial
behavior, quality habitat isolated from intensive human impacts, pack function
and prey base.
- Recognizing that some predation and threats to public safety may occur,
some lethal control may occasionally be necessary-- but only after compensation
efforts are initiated. Transplanting a single wolf is often futile (wolves
are territorial) and often leads to dysfunctional behavior.
A defining moment awaits Utah wildness. Let our voices howl
with that of the wolf!
High Uintas Preservation Council
PO Box 72
Hyrum, UT 84319
“Imagine a mountain defined by the creation of life, not the production
High Uintas Preservation Council