Monthly Archives: May 2004

21 selected for panel on wolf management

By Gary Gerhardt, Rocky Mountain News
May 7, 2004

State wildlife officials have selected 21 people to serve on a working group to design a plan for managing wolves that may come into the state.

Sixty livestock producers, environmentalists, sportsmen, wildlife biologists and local government members who volunteered to serve on the committee, and the group was pared to 21 by state Division of Wildlife regional managers and upper-level supervisors.

“We selected people we felt could work with others, had time to do it and could reasonably represent the issues and concerns of the group they represented,” Gary Skiba, a state wildlife biologist who heads up Colorado’s wolf-management effort, said Thursday.

One representative each is still to be selected from local government, the National Park Service and the state wildlife division.

“I really see participation by the government services more as advisory role in dealing with legal problems and questions,” Skiba said.

He said the next step will be to set up a meeting steered by Meridian Institute, a Dillon-based company that helps diverse groups solve contentious public issues.

Rob Edwards of Sinapu, a conservation group in Boulder who was selected to the team, said, “I think this can work, but it’s up to the dynamics of the team, facilitators and people to be able to think outside the box. If they allow science to be the guide, I think we’ll be able to compromise and come up with a workable plan.”

Almost everyone agrees that it is only a matter of time until wolves find their way to Colorado.

Those selected to deal with the issue are:

• Wildlife biologists: Del Benson, Anne Ruggles.

• Sportsmen: Michael Bond, Dick Steele.

• Local governments: Les Hampton, another to be determined.

• Livestock producers: Robert Bray, Bonnie Kline, Duke Phillips, Jean Stetson.

• Environmentalists/wildlife advocates: Rob Edward, Mark Pearson, Dyanne Singler, Gary Wockner.

• Colorado State Forest Service: Joe Duda.

• Colorado Department of Agriculture: Jim Grady.

• U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Susan Linner.

• Colorado Office of Economic Development: Stefanie Dalgar.

• Bureau of Land Management: Raul Morales.

• U.S. Department of Agriculture: Michael Yeary.

• U.S. Forest Service: Nancy Warren.

• National Park Service: To be determined.

• Colorado Division of Wildlife: Gary Skiba and one to be determined.

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Conservationists welcome opportunity to serve on Colorado’s Wolf Management Working Group

For Immediate Release
For More Information Contact:

Rob Edward (303) 447-8655 ext 2#
Tina Arapkiles (303) 807-1159

DENVER – The Colorado Division of Wildlife announced its appointments to the newly formed working group that will be tasked with developing a plan for the eventual return of wolves to Colorado’s high country. The 23 member group comes from a variety of economic sectors and viewpoints, including sportsmen, livestock producers, conservationists, and local government representatives. The group includes:

Conservationists: Rob Edward, Mark Pearson, Dyanne Singler, Gary Wocker

Livestock producers: Robert Bray, Bonnie Kline, Duke Phillips, Jean Stetson

Sportsmen: Michael Bond, Dick Steele

Biologists: Del Benson, Anne Ruggles

“The conservation community stands ready to meet this important challenge,” said Rob Edward of Sinapu and the Southern Rockies Wolf Restoration Project. Edward will join three other conservationists on the working group. “The decisions this group makes will profoundly impact the future of Colorado’s wild places, and we will strive to ensure that those impacts are positive.”

Although some livestock producers argue that wolves have no place in Colorado, conservationists contend that science shows otherwise. “Colorado and the rest of the Southern Rockies represent a tremendous opportunity to restore wolves,” said Tina Arapkiles of the Sierra Club and co-director of the Southern Rockies Wolf Restoration Project along with Edward. In particular, a report published in the Journal of Conservation Biology in 2003 concluded that the region could support nearly 1,000 wolves.

Conservationists say that restoring wolves to Southern Rocky Mountains is far more than a romantic endeavor. Scientific information from Yellowstone National Park now indicates that, in less than a decade, the mere presence of wolves has caused dramatic changes in vegetation and species diversity, including an increase in beavers and thus in important wetland habitat. Arapkiles, a mother of two young girls, said, “I feel an obligation to my kids and their future children to do all I can to ensure that wolves again roam throughout the Southern Rockies.”

As the working group gets underway with their task, Edward said that he and his colleagues look forward to a thoughtful discussion with other members of the group that may have a different perspective. “We expect some friction,” said Edward, “but reasonable people should be able to work through the rough spots. If we stay focused on what science has to say on the subject, the fear and misunderstanding of wolves should become less of an issue.”

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