Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Speak out on wolf plan


That one word can ignite a furious debate among defenders of wildlife and ranchers and hunters over how to manage roaming wolf packs when the animal is removed from federal protection, perhaps as soon as early next year.

Perhaps a formalized meeting will allow parties to this contentious issue to offer reasoned ideas on balancing wolf numbers while at the same time protecting livestock and wildlife from wolf attacks. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game will host a meeting to discuss a preliminary wolf population management plan from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17, at the Hailey Community Campus.

Those who plan to attend will be better prepared if they go online and read the state's proposed plan at

Extremists on one side who want to do away with wolves entirely and extremists at the other end of the spectrum who want total protection of wolves are not likely to prevail when a final plan is adopted.

This hearing is a rare opportunity for the Wood River Valley, which, unlike cities located far from any wolf pack, was overlooked for hearings on wolf management until local leaders prodded Fish and Game. The oversight is insulting considering that the valley lies within wolf country, and its outdoor-savvy population is affected by growing numbers of wolves.

With a concentration of organizations here dedicated to environmental and wildlife concerns, valley speakers are especially prepared to contribute intelligent, fact-based viewpoints. However, comments at the meeting will be limited.

Those with strong viewpoints should speak now—at the meeting or in written form—or forever hold their peace.

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