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April 2011

Conservation Connection April 2011

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In this issue:

  • Wolves lose protection
  • Columbia Highlands poll
  • Bears of the Last Frontier
  • Washington's wild side

The documentary film, Lords of Nature asks: Can people and predators coexist? Can we afford not to?

Congress delists Northern Rockies wolves, trumping wildlife science and creating hardship for wolves in Washington.

Washington's Wolves Need Us Now More than Ever

Unfortunately for wolves, the budget bill funding the government contained an unwelcome rider that stripped federal protections from Northern Rockies wolves. It was the first time Congress members–and not agency biologists–have removed protection from an animal formally recognized as in danger of extinction.

Because of the delisting, wolves in the eastern third of Washington–but not those in the Cascades–have lost federal protections. In Washington, state-level protections continue. With the delisting of Rockies wolves, an ongoing process to create a state wolf management plan has become even more important for Washington's wolves. Conservation Northwest is part of the effort to finalize that plan this summer, which will need comments from all wolf supporters to make as strong a case as possible for our wolves.

A black bear near the site of the proposed Rock Knob overpass.

Mule deer on the Kettle Crest: Hunters are part of a polled majority who support a balanced forest plan that includes wilderness.

Poll Shows that Citizens Support Wilderness in the Columbia Highlands

Showing support that crossed partisan lines and the rural/urban divide, a new poll of voters in northeast Washington found 57% supported a balanced approach to managing the Colville National Forest, which includes wilderness protection.

Support from off-road vehicle users was only somewhat less than that expressed by hunters, hikers, and others, but still the majority view. Today, the Salmo-Priest Wilderness, the only protected wilderness in northeast Washington, represents less than 3% of the Colville National Forest. Protected wilderness in the Columbia Highlands makes up less than 1% of the state's total designated wilderness.

"The Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition is taking the right approach," said Russ Vaagen of Vaagen Brothers Lumber, who serves as vice president of the Coalition. "People want a balanced approach and wise use of our forest that creates jobs, provides access, and takes care of wildlife and our special places."



We don't have to choose between protecting wild country up on the Kettle Crest and productively managing our 

Tune in to fascinating bear tales by Chris Morgan during a PBS Nature Sunday special. Then catch Chris on the David Letterman Show on May 10th!


Coming in May: "Bears of the Last Frontier"

Coming soon, Alaska's bears–brown, black, and polar bears–are featured in a special, three-part PBS Nature documentary on "Bears of the Last Frontier" hosted by our friend and bear ecologist Chris Morgan. Spend Sunday evenings in May with Nature then do something to help our own North Cascades grizzly bears!



Looking forward to the events of spring–and summer.

Trail riding is one of the many live auction experiences available at this year's Hope for a Wild Future.





Celebrating Washington's Wild Side

On Tuesday, May 17, you're invited to an exciting, free presentation, "Off-Trail Tales from Northeast Washington's Wildlands," at Seattle's REI, exploring the wildlife, landscapes, and culture of the Columbia Highlands. Savor wildlife images from photographer Paul Bannick, relish tales of rarely traveled trails by author Craig Romano, and be inspired by the wisdom and conservation philosophy of Conservation Northwest's executive director Mitch Friedman. Contact Kit with questions.

Then on Wednesday, June 8, join friends of Conservation Northwest at our historic annual auction, "Hope for a Wild Future" in the SoDo district. The food alone will be a treat–halibut, fresh salads, crab cakes, divine ravioli, and more–Herban Feast's award winning, organic, local cuisine. For a sneak preview, browse our online catalog. Escape to paradise, sail the San Juans, take part in wolf tracking in Idaho, or study bears with the fabulous Chris Morgan! As the fortune cookie says, "There will be many enriching wildlife sightings in your future."




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