Feds Cancel Idaho Predator Killing Contest

roping a wolf

From Center For Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, November 24, 2014

Contact: Amy Atwood, Center for Biological Diversity, (503) 504-5660
Laird Lucas, Advocates for the West, (208) 342-7024
Travis Bruner, Western Watersheds Project, (208) 720-5595
Camilla Fox, Project Coyote, (415) 690-0338

With Lawsuit Pending, Feds Cancel Idaho Predator-killing Derby

BOISE, Idaho —In response to a lawsuit from conservation groups, the Bureau of Land Management has decided to cancel a permit allowing an anti-wolf organization to conduct a “predator derby” on more than 3 million acres of public lands near Salmon, Idaho.

As lawyers for the Center for Biological Diversity, Western Watersheds Project, Project Coyote and Defenders of Wildlife were preparing to file a request to stop this year’s derby on BLM lands, the agency decided to withdraw its decision to allow “Idaho for Wildlife” to conduct a contest to kill the most wolves, coyotes, and other species over three days every year for five years, beginning Jan. 2, 2015.
“We’re so glad that the deadly derby has been canceled this year,” said Amy Atwood, senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, who represents the Center, Western Watersheds Project and Project Coyote. “These sort of ruthless kill-fests have no place in this century. We intend to pursue every available remedy to stop these horrible contests.”

News of BLM’s decision came from an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, which is representing the BLM in the groups’ litigation, who conveyed the news just as attorneys for the groups were preparing to file a major brief to stop this year’s hunt.

“BLM’s first-ever approval of a wolf hunting derby on public lands undercuts wolf recovery efforts, so it’s good they cancelled this permit,” said Laird Lucas, director of litigation at Advocates for the West, which represents Defenders of Wildlife.

The hunt would have allowed up to 500 participants compete to kill the largest number of wolves, coyotes and other animals for cash and prizes. Contest organizers are hoping to expand their contest statewide.

“It’s hard to imagine a more objectionable event than an award-laden killing festival,” said Travis Bruner, executive director of Western Watersheds Project. “Let’s all hope that this is the beginning of the end of such activities.”

Wolves were removed from the endangered species list in 2011 following many years of recovery efforts in central and eastern Idaho, where public lands are supposed to provide core refugia in the face of aggressive hunting and trapping in Idaho.

“Killing wildlife for fun and prizes on public lands that belong to all Americans is not only reprehensible, it is also a violation of the Public Trust Doctrine and contravenes Idaho Fish and Game’s policy condemning killing contests as unethical and ecologically unsound,” said Camilla Fox, founder and executive director of Project Coyote. “It is high time the BLM acknowledges that wildlife killing contests are not an acceptable ‘use’ of public lands.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 800,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Western Watersheds Project works to protect and restore public lands and wildlife in the West through education, public policy initiatives and legal advocacy.

Project Coyote (ProjectCoyote.org) is a national non-profit organization promoting compassionate conservation and coexistence between people and wildlife through education, science, and advocacy. Join our community on Facebook and Twitter.

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2014/wildlife-killing-contest-11-24-2014.htm

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Idaho Predator Derby Canceled on Federal Land

Posted by Jessica Murri Nov 25, 2014 at 11:07 am

http://www.boiseweekly.com/CityDesk/archives/2014/11/25/idaho-predator-derby-canceled-on-federal-land

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Photo: Courtesy Wiki

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Biodiversity

Tags: CBD, Advocates for the West, Western Watersheds Project, Project Coyote, BLM, Predator Killing Contest cancelled on Federal Land

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So If You Threaten A Range War The BLM Will Blink?

No Trespassing Author Dicklyon  Wikimedia

This is really pissing me off. Wolves are being slaughtered by the thousands, wild horses continue to be rounded up, yet a Nevada rancher can defy the federal government for twenty years, owe a fortune in fees, graze his cattle on public land that is clearly not his, land he has admitted is not his and get away with it. Of course the right-wing militia was all over this, ready to defend this rancher from the big, bad government, boo-hoo. Wait a minute while I get a hanky and dry my tears.

Wolf advocates have howled to the high heavens for five long years since Obama and his rancher pal, Ken Salazar, delisted wolves in the Northern Rockies in 2009. But we’ve been ignored and demonized. Yet as soon as a rancher  hoots and hollers about non-existent grazing rights, the BLM backs down. What magic powers do the ranchers have that we don’t?  Armed militias that will  huff and puff to get the government’s attention?  And while we’re on the subject of attention, thanks MSM (main stream media) for ignoring the wolves’ plight all these years  but not failing to cover the hell out of this story.  It shows where your priorities lay. If it blusters it leads! Cows over wildlife!

Center For Biological Diversity weighed in on the issue on April 6, believing the BLM would FINALLY enforce the law and remove Bundy’a cattle but as we all know the BLM blinked. Of course they have no trouble ignoring wild horse advocates protesting the ongoing round-ups.

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Environmental groups comment on the Bundy cattle roundup

April 6, 2014

Elko Daily Free Press

“Again and again federal judges have said the BLM has the right and duty to remove cattle trespassing in the Gold Butte area to protect desert tortoises and other imperiled species,” said Rob Mrowka, a Nevada-based senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity, which had filed a notice of intent to sue over the lack of action being taken by the federal agencies. “We’re heartened and thankful that the agencies are finally living up to their stewardship duty. The Gold Butte area has been officially designated as critical habitat for threatened tortoises — meaning the area is essential to their long-term survival as a species.”

“Mr. Bundy has long falsely believed that Gold Butte is his ranch,” said Terri Robertson, long-time advocate for protecting the rich cultural and natural resources of Gold Butte and currently president of Friends of Sloan Canyon. “We all know that is not the reality, and it is time for him for obey the law.”

“Mr. Bundy’s defiance of the law and decades-long free grazing on public lands is a poke in the eye of every rancher who rightfully pays for their use of the public lands, and a further thumb of the nose to those responsible, progressive ranchers who graze sustainably, allowing for threatened species to survive on their allotments,” said Karen Boeger, a former BLM advisory committee member.

READ MORE: http://elkodaily.com/news/environmental-groups-comment-on-bundy-cattle-roundup/article_00272e42-bdc5-11e3-9f12-0019bb2963f4.html

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ON Kilter: Trespass cattleman not above the law

Written by Dallas Hyland on March 28, 2014

According to the BLM’s press release published by St. George News Thursday: “The BLM and (National Park Service) have made repeated attempts to resolve this matter administratively and judicially. Impoundment of cattle illegally grazing on public lands is an option of last resort.”

The alleged owner of the cattle is Bunkerville, Nev., resident Cliven Bundy. According to a Tuesday report by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “Bundy has said he doesn’t recognize the federal government’s authority to tell him what to do on land his family has used since 1877 but does not own. He said he will ‘do whatever it takes’ to protect his cattle and his property rights.”

A range war of sorts now ensues.

Bundy admits he does not own the land he lays claim to use of and that he never has owned the land

Note that Bundy admits he does not own the land he lays claim to use of and that he never has owned the land. According to an article in Let’s Talk Nevada: “Beginning twenty years ago in 1993, the BLM has been in dispute with Bundy over his right to graze the Bunkerville allotment of the Gold Butte area. After the BLM terminated Bundy’s grazing permit for Bundy’s failure to pay required grazing fees in 1998, Clark County, as administrator for the Clark County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan, purchased the grazing rights from the BLM for 375,000 dollars and retired them, in order to fulfill requirements under that plan to protect endangered desert tortoises.”

Ardent supporters of Bundy argue that although people in this country are beholden to federal law, this is an exception because the laws prohibiting some of his practices are not legal ones to begin with.
Were that it was so simple.

My colleague and opinion columnist Bryan Hyde said in a post on Fox News 1450 Facebook:

Cliven has successfully fought the BLM for many years on the grounds that they were breaking their own laws or making up rules as they went. How can a person play ball when his opponent claims the power to change the rules mid-game? I believe the Bundys are better conservationists than most environmentalists.

In doing so, Hyde sounds somewhat like one laying claim to a valid argument; but, pay attention, its made of straw.

what is being waged here is not an environmental war but rather one over simple noncompliance with the law

While it is environmental concerns that laid the foundation for the laws making grazing on the public land in question illegal, what is being waged here is not an environmental war but rather one over simple noncompliance with the law – law that Bundy has been willfully and defiantly violating for decades.

According to a March 11 report in The Mesquite Citizen Journal: “… the BLM is working to comply with two court orders issued by Federal Judges, one in July 2013 and the other in October 2013. Those two orders follow numerous others issued by the courts clear back to 1998.”

The orders were for Bundy to remove his cattle from federal land.

One would be challenged to find any case where this kind of lawbreaking went unfettered for so long.

One would be challenged to find any case where this kind of lawbreaking went unfettered for so long.

What eventually happened was that in response to the blatant disregard for law and seeming protection from local municipalities, the Center for Biological Diversity sued the BLM for not enforcing the court orders. They are now being required under federal mandate to do their jobs. Why to this point the BLM has not done so is open to speculation.

What stands out here locally is the predictable support for Bundy and his defiance of the federal government

What stands out here locally is the predictable support for Bundy and his defiance of the federal government, a prevalent attitude, however misguided, in Utah.

Why misguided you ask?

Hypocrisy.

In 2012, environmental activist Tim DeChristopher was sentenced to federal prison for upending a federal auction of state land to oil industry. DeChristopher posed as a bidder winning thousands of acres and when he was discovered to be a fraud, he was charged and eventually convicted.

It was eventually revealed in the court proceedings that the auction was in fact illegal to begin with, but this did not avert DeChristopher’s culpability.

I wager not one of the ardent defenders of Bundy’s pseudo-patriotic defiance of state defended DeChistopher in what is pound-for-pound the same scenario.DeChristopher broke the law for about an hour. Bundy has been breaking it repeatedly for 20 years

Except … DeChristopher broke the law for about an hour. Bundy has been breaking it repeatedly for 20 years.

When an individual impassioned about a cause, a business, a family tradition, sees the laws impeding them as unjust and takes illegal action to amend it, they are perhaps just in their cause but in the end they learn what all of us must learn: to right injustice in civil society, one must operate within the constructs of the law or suffer the consequences.

DeChristopher did. So will Bundy.

Bundy would do well to grasp that he does not live in the Nevada Territory, he lives in the United States.

See you out there.

http://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/archive/2014/03/28/kilter-trespass-cattleman-law/#.U0oE8VfimYg

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Emotions run high as BLM closes 600,000 acres for cattle roundup

Posted March 26, 2014 – 11:11am Updated March 27, 2014 – 12:14am

By HENRY BREAN
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

Federal authorities will restrict access to almost 600,000 acres of public land for the next seven weeks as they prepare to round up what they call “trespass cattle” in the desert 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

The Bureau of Land Management’s temporary closure of the Gold Butte, Mormon Mesa and Bunkerville Flats areas takes effect today and lasts through May 12. During that time, federal officials and contract cowboys plan to impound several hundred cattle left on the range by Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy as part of a dispute that is about to come to a head after more than 20 years.

Bundy has said he doesn’t recognize the federal government’s authority to tell him what to do on land his family has used since 1877 but does not own. He said will “do whatever it takes” to protect his cattle and his property rights.

Federal officials have repeatedly ordered him to remove his livestock from a federal grazing allotment he stopped paying the government for in 1993. The BLM officially closed the former Bunkerville allotment to grazing in 1999 out of concern for the federally protected desert tortoise, but Bundy’s cattle remain.

The BLM made a similar move to impound the rogue livestock in 2012, but the operation was hastily canceled the day before it was set to begin in part out of fear of a violent confrontation.

Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie met with Bundy several times as the 2012 roundup was being organized, and he has been in contact with the rancher ever since. He visited the Bundy family at their spread along the Virgin River a few weeks ago, when it became clear that no compromise could be found to stave off federal action.

READ MORE: http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/emotions-run-high-blm-closes-600000-acres-cattle-roundup

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U.S. Agency Backs Down In Standoff With Cattle Rancher

April 12, 2014 5:10 PM ET
Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher who refuses to pay grazing fees for the use of federally protected land, seems to have won at least a reprieve in his fight against the Bureau of Land Management. The agency has reportedly rounded up hundreds of Bundy’s cows and impounded them.

The BLM announced Saturday that it will stop its operation targeting Bundy’s cattle, citing safety concerns. But officials maintain that the rancher still owes more than $1 million in unpaid fees that date back more than 20 years.

“The BLM will continue to work to resolve the matter administratively and judicially,” the agency said in a news release issued today.

The agency’s partial withdrawal comes as a heated debate continues over Bundy’s use of the land – and over the BLM’s decision to take the cattle. The rancher and his family say the government went too far in its efforts; last week, he with the agency over the situation.

READ MORE: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/04/12/302351783/u-s-agency-backs-down-in-standoff-with-cattle-rancher?ft=1&f

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Statement from Director of the Bureau of Land Management Neil Kornze on the Cattle Gather in Nevada

Release Date: 04/12/14

As we have said from the beginning of the gather to remove illegal cattle from federal land consistent with court orders, a safe and peaceful operation is our number one priority. After one week, we have made progress in enforcing two recent court orders to remove the trespass cattle from public lands that belong to all Americans.

Based on information about conditions on the ground, and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concern about the safety of employees and members of the public.
We ask that all parties in the area remain peaceful and law-abiding as the Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service work to end the operation in an orderly manner.

Ranching has always been an important part of our nation’s heritage and continues throughout the West on public lands that belong to all Americans. This is a matter of fairness and equity, and we remain disappointed that Cliven Bundy continues to not comply with the same laws that 16,000 public lands ranchers do every year. After 20 years and multiple court orders to remove the trespass cattle, Mr. Bundy owes the American taxpayers in excess of $1 million. The BLM will continue to work to resolve the matter administratively and judicially.

http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/info/newsroom/2014/april/national_office__statement.html

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Pretty weak statement. If wolf or wild horse advocates threatened to start  a range war over the killing of wolves and the round-up of wild horses, we’d be put in jail, no questions asked. But when a bunch of bullies threaten the feds, what happens? They back down and issue a BS statement that will have about as much effect on this rancher and his supporters as it’s had for the last twenty years, which is none!!  As you can see the BLM statement wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on because they’ve released all four hundred of Bundy’s cows they rounded up!

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Feds release all cows gathered during NV roundup

So a rancher can get away with threatening the federal government to “do whatever it takes” to protect his property? What property is he talking about? The public land he’s been illegally grazing his cattle on for twenty years? The Gold Butte land that’s supposed to be a protected area for threatened tortoises? That land?

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Top Photo: Dicklyon / Wikimedia / CC-BY-SA-2.0

Bottom Photo: Wikimedia

Posted in: Public Land Degradation by Livestock, Biodiversity

Tags: BLM, Gold Butte Area Nevada, illegal cattle grazing, grazing fees owed, BLM backs down, 1993-2014 land dispute, CBD, desert tortoise, federal court orders defied

Good News….Idaho Halts Wolf Extermination In “The Frank”…

Nature Cold Warriors_pack traveling through snow

From Center For Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, January 27, 2014

Contact: Tim Preso, Earthjustice, (406) 586-9699
Noah Greenwald, Center for Biological Diversity, (971) 717-6403
Ken Cole, Western Watersheds Project, (208) 890-3666
Suzanne Stone, Defenders of Wildlife, (208) 424-9385

State-sponsored Wolf Killing Ends in Idaho

Faced With Looming Court Challenge, Idaho Halts Unprecedented Program

POCATELLO, Idaho— Faced with a looming deadline to defend its actions before a federal appeals court, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) announced this afternoon that it is halting its wolf extermination program in the Middle Fork region of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness as of today.

The announcement represents a stay of execution for the remaining wolves that constitute the Golden Creek and Monumental Creek wolf packs, which inhabit the Middle Fork region. To date, nine wolves from the two packs have been killed by IDFG’s hired hunter-trapper, who entered the wilderness and began his wolf extermination program in mid-December. It is unknown how many wolves remain in the two packs.

“IDFG’s hunter-trapper killed nine wolves and we are happy to report that the rest no longer face the same threat,” said Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso. “We are sorry it took an emergency injunction request to the court of appeals to get Idaho to halt this illegal program, and we hope that the federal government in the future will take more seriously its public trust responsibility to protect the wilderness from state efforts to exterminate native wildlife.”

IDFG’s action comes in the midst of an emergency proceeding before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in which conservationists were seeking an injunction to halt the wolf extermination program. The conservationists, represented by Earthjustice, sued IDFG and the U.S. Forest Service earlier this month, arguing that the state wolf extermination program would degrade the largest forested wilderness in the lower-48 states. After a federal judge in Idaho rejected a request to stop the program on Jan. 17, the conservationists took their fight to the court of appeals, where they filed an emergency request for an injunction on Jan. 23.

IDFG is halting trapping in the Middle Fork starting today and the trapper will take a few days to remove traps and snares from the area. Additional trapping in the area will cease, at least through the end of the state fiscal year, which is June 30.

This is bittersweet news,” said Ken Cole with the Western Watersheds Project. “I am happy that IDFG has relented but it is unfortunate that so many wolves have been taken in this senseless plan to manhandle wildlife in an area that Congress recognized as a wilderness ‘where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man.’ “

In mid-December 2013, IDFG hired a hunter-trapper to pack into central Idaho’s 2.4-million-acre Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness to eradicate two wolf packs, the Golden and Monumental packs, in the interest of inflating elk populations for outfitters and recreational hunters. The U.S. Forest Service, which administers the wilderness, approved the extermination program by authorizing use of a Forest Service cabin and airstrip to support wolf extermination activities.

“It’s a tragedy that nine wolves had to die before the state of Idaho finally pulled the plug on its needless effort to eradicate two whole wolf packs from one of America’s largest wilderness areas,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The wolves were only playing the role they play in nature and should never have been killed. It should not take court action to stop such cruel, unnecessary and wasteful killing, but I’m glad it has stopped.”

The region of the Frank Church Wilderness where IDFG’s hunter-trapper was killing wolves is a remote area around Big Creek and the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. Even though this region hosts one of the lightest densities of hunters in the state, IDFG prioritized elk production over protection of the area’s wilderness character. The Forest Service failed to object to IDFG’s plans and instead actively assisted them.

Earthjustice represented long-time Idaho conservationist and wilderness advocate Ralph Maughan along with four conservation groups — Defenders of Wildlife, Western Watersheds Project, Wilderness Watch, and the Center for Biological Diversity — in the lawsuit challenging the wolf extermination program.

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2014/wolf-01-27-2014.html

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Photo: Courtesy Nature (Cold Warriors)

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Idaho Wolves, Activism, Biodiversity

Tags:  Frank Church/River of No Return Wilderness, Ralph Maughin, WWP, CBD, Wilderness Watch, DOW, Golden wolf pack, Monumental wolf pack, a victory for the wolves

Wolf Hell! Judge Says Idaho Can Continue Wolf Slaying In Frank Church….

gray wolf wisconsin dnr wi.gov

January 18, 2014

Idaho is wolf hell and the fires are burning hotter than ever for them now that a district judge has refused to stop the extermination of two wolf packs (Monumental and Golden) in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, after environmental groups filed a lawsuit to halt it. The wolf packs are bothering nobody, they live in a  2.4 million acre wilderness for god-sakes. BUT some elk hunters, who think Idaho is a giant game farm, want more elk to kill for themselves, hence the pressure on IDGF to eradicate even more wolves.  Who do these people think they are? Do they own Idaho’s wildlife? Apparently they do!!

And I highly doubt the Idaho hired gun or guns is just going after two wolf packs. Who in the heck really knows whats going on in that vast wilderness? They could be killing or have already killed wolves from other packs.

Judge Edward J. Lodge’s ruling allows the outrageous trapping and killing of wolves, by a state hired hunter/trapper, to continue. It’s bad enough Idaho allows a year round wolf hunt in some areas of the state or that Wildlife Services and poachers continue to kill them. Now wolves are being trapped and slaughtered in a protected wilderness.

“Hiring a bounty hunter to kill wolves in one of America’s crown-jewel wilderness areas, just to make sure there are more elk for hunters to kill, is one more example of the deeply sad, cruel and reactionary nature of Idaho’s ‘management’ of wolves,” said Noah Greenwald, the Center’s endangered species director. “This outrageous slaughter is a clear reminder of why all of our country’s wolves need the protection of the Endangered Species Act.”……Center For Biological Diversity

We can lay this debacle at the feet of the Obama administration and Congress. Mere months after Obama took office he and his rancher Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, delisted wolves in Montana and Idaho. Those wolves have been in the cross-hairs of brutal state management ever since and the bloodshed has spread to Wyoming and the Great Lakes.

The environmental groups plan to appeal the ruling to the 9th Circuit but that could be a lengthy process, meanwhile wolves continue to suffer and die. The only solution to the savage wolf killing, that’s gripped the Northern Rockies and Great Lakes, is to place gray wolves back on the Endangered Species List!

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Judge Lodge Issues Ruling Allowing Wolf Extermination in Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness

U.S. District Judge for Idaho Edward J. Lodge has issued a ruling denying plaintiffs’ case against an ongoing plan to eradicate two wolf packs in Idaho’s Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. The judge ruled that plaintiffs are unlikely to prevail based on the merits of the case because the US Forest Service’s decision to allow Idaho Department of Fish and Game to use the cabin and airstrip at Cabin Creek was not a final agency action that is reviewable. The US Forest Service claims that it is still evaluating the wolf eradication plan and that it has not taken a final agency action. The Judge also ruled that the removal of wolves in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness does not constitute irreparable harm because the actions don’t irreparably harm the species as a whole.

So far the trapper has killed 9 wolves.

Read more: http://www.thewildlifenews.com/2014/01/17/judge-lodge-issues-ruling-allowing-wolf-extermination-in-frank-church-river-of-no-return-wilderness/

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Definition of Wilderness (from the 1964 Wilderness Act)

(c) an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions and which(1) generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable; (2) has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation; (3) has  at least five thousand acres of land or is of sufficient size as to make practicable its preservation and use in an unimpaired condition; and (4) may also contain ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value.

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Posted in: Wolf Wars

Photo: Wisconsin DNR

Tags: wolf wars, wolf trapping, wolf persecution, Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, WWP, Ralph Maughan, DOW, WWP, CBD, Wilderness Watch, Wilderness Act, Judge Lodge, Idaho, Idaho elk hunters pressure IDFG, 1964 Wilderness Act

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