Want Wolves? Take ‘Em, I-5 Corridor: Rancher

Ranchers and others in Okanogan County let their feelings be known on wolves in Washington at the first draft-management-plan meeting held in a county where a pack actually exists.

“I’m all for translocating wolves,” Dave McClure, a local rancher is quoted as saying by K.C. Mehaffey in the Wenatchee World today. “I think they should all be translocated to the I-5 corridor, where they can be appreciated.”

Methow Valley rancher Larry Campbell is suspicious that WDFW brought the wolves here rather than the animals wandering in by themselves, and he wants state officials to take lie-detector tests.

All three comments drew applause, Mehaffey reports.

(State staffers adamantly say that they have not introduced any wolves to Washington, but rumors persist in some valleys.)

Okanogan County is home to the Lookout Pack, which had a second litter of pups last spring. In mid-October, WDFW biologist Scott Fitkin told me they were still above Lake Chelan, in the Sawtooth Range.

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GRAY WOLF, LAKE CHELAN-SAWTOOTH WILDERNESS, OCT. 7, 2009. (USFS)

The Diamond Pack runs in Pend Oreille County north of Spokane.

However, two other Methow Valley residents expressed support for wolf recovery during the meeting.

Mehaffey reports that more than 150 people attended, which would make it the largest of the 11 meetings held so far.

There’s one more on the docket, tonight at 6:30 p.m.  in Wenatchee at the Chelan County PUD Auditorium, 327 N. Wenatchee Ave.

After that, you may submit public comments three ways through Jan. 8:

FAX: (360) 902-2946

Mail: WDFW SEPA Desk, 600 Capitol Way N. Olympia, WA 98501-1091.

Online: http://wdfw.wa.gov/wildlife/management/gray_wolf/mgmt_plan.html