HUPC Logo
HUPC Home Page Fare Thee Well! HUPC
Issue Updates
Contact
HUPC
About the Uintas
We Are HUPC Our Reflections What You Can Do Join HUPC HUPC Archives

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.

Meeting Schedule

  • 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 Hunter Dr.
  • March 16, Richfield, Sevier County Administration Building, 250 N. Main St.
  • 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 obvious importance.

Act VII-YOUR WILD VOICE!!

The essence of a Utah wolf conservation strategy:

  1. Support the natural recovery of gray wolf populations, not a plan hiding behind lethal control and a few scattered wolves.
  2. 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 lands!
  3. 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.
  4. 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 to wildlife.
  5. 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.
  6. 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
hupc.org

“Imagine a mountain defined by the creation of life, not the production of resources.”
High Uintas Preservation Council


HUPC Home Page Our Reflections HUPC
Issue Updates
Contact
HUPC
About the Uintas and Lakes Roadless Area
We Are HUPC Fare Thee Well! What You Can Do Join HUPC HUPC Archives