Why we should vote against wolf introduction proposition

We’re members of a group that has studied wildlife and wildlife habitat issues and their convergence with a myriad of other Western Colorado landscape challenges. We understand the importance of finding solutions that meet both public and private needs, wildland and multiple-use goals and finding that economic sweet spot for the diverse towns and counties on the Western Slope.

We wish to share our perspectives with new neighbors and those who live in the urban areas of Colorado. As fellow co-chairmen, we represent policy groups within Club 20 (www.club20.org) that delve into issues specific to agriculture, public lands, natural resources, tourism and outdoor recreation. Our resolution PLNR-20-1 Proposed Wolf Introduction is on this website to provide a comprehensive analysis of this issue.

We have studied and followed the wolf reintroduction idea for years. We have studied endangered species, reintroduction of lynx and moose, protection of habitat for sage grouse, fragmentation of habitat across public and private lands and very importantly have developed a knowledge about and deep appreciation for the experts working within Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) as well as wildlife biologists working for the United States Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.

We would like to share our conclusions:

  • We fully support the guidance from state wildlife experts and their conclusions. In 1982 and 1989, the Colorado Wildlife Commission adopted resolutions opposing wolf introduction in Colorado. In 2016, the Colorado Wildlife Commission adopted an updated resolution (Resolution 16-01) that opposes the intentional release of wolves into Colorado. The resolution further supports the May 2005 Colorado Wolf Management Working Group Recommendations for Managing Wolves that Migrate into Colorado, which remains in effect as guidance to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
  • We don’t support ballot-initiated wildlife management directives that do not and cannot take into account the ramifications and possible devastation to other wildlife species that Coloradoans value and wish to protect (moose, mule deer, elk, lynx).
  • We understand a state like Colorado with a growing population and exponentially increasing recreation pressures needs to proceed wisely in changing wildlife management direction.
  • We recognize there are costly economic consequences from this ballot measure and the potentially expensive direct AND indirect costs to those living and working in Western Colorado aren’t calculated in this initiative.
  • n We care deeply about the unintended consequences to local communities, including ranchers, hunters, guiders and outfitters and the interconnected agriculture and recreation economies when wolf introduction negatively impacts their livelihoods and lifestyles.
  • Much of the impetus behind this measure comes from out-of-state interests infusing more than $1 million into this campaign, and we doubt they know much about Western Colorado economies, habitat and risks to the ecological balance that’s integrally known to those of us who live, work and provide stewardship of our lands.

Wolves continue to be documented in Colorado, including a sighting by a Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologist of an adult wolf with a pup. With an initial cost of $6 million for wolf introduction, a state budget deficit of $3 billion and record unemployment due to COVID-19, public dollars would be better spent elsewhere.

Please vote NO on Proposition 114. Let natural migration unfold without interference from a forced wolf introduction and trust our state wildlife experts who have a proven track record of protecting ALL wildlife.

Club 20 public lands committee co-chairs

Brad McCloud

Nancy Fishering

Club 20 agriculture committee co-chairs

Les Mergelman

Ron Velarde