HOWL Colorado

Forty Years In Wolves’ Clothing

Between 1972 and 1975, some very cool stuff happened. First, Skiers’ Gazette was reborn as the Mountain Gazette. The following year, Rick Nixon signed into law the Endangered Species Act, and, in 1974 wolves in the Lower 48 were the first species declared endangered under this bright and shiny new law.

1975 hailed the end of the war in Vietnam.

But time can be a cruel mistress: We cannot stop ourselves from fighting more wars. And in 2011, the Obama Administration compromised both the Endangered Species Act and wolf recovery in one fell swoop by approving a federal budget with a sneaky rider. For, buried deep within the budget’s muck and mire, the delisting of wolves was mandated for the Northern Rockies. Adding insult to injury, legal challenges were blocked and, for the first time, Congress alone stripped a specific species of protection under the ESA.

I will not argue that, today, most small and multi-generational family ranches are struggling to survive. Adding wolves to the equation just makes it that much more difficult, or so one may believe. But while wolves are an easy target for misdirected blame and aggression, there are far more nefarious factors that are being swept under the braided rug, like so much dirt mingled with cow shit. It is far too convenient, actually romantic for some, to point a finger — or a gun — at an apex predator, making it their own personal scapegoat…

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