Idaho Department of Fish & Game Moves to Collar Wolves in the Frank-Church Wilderness
A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.
On January 17, 2008 I attended an Idaho Department of Fish & Game Annual Commissioner Meeting in which Commissioner McDermott of Idaho’s Panhandle region expressed the commission’s desire to capture and collar wolves in the Frank-Church Wilderness.
Steve Nadeau explained to the commissioners that the IDFG had “beat that dog perty hard” but that the environmental analysis alone needed to land a helicopter in a wilderness area would cost as much as $250,000 to land once or twice.
McDermott expressed that the commission had an idea about how to deal with that, at which point Nadeau suggested the commission might not want that conversation on the public record. The commissioners laughed, and the topic was dropped from the public record – until now.
The Salmon-Challis National Forest has announced scoping comments for its proposed NEPA analysis of the Idaho Department of Fish & Game’s requested permission to land a helicopter up to 20 times to support radio collaring of up to 12 wolves in the Frank-Church Wilderness :
Authorization to Idaho Department of Fish and Game for Helicopter Landings in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness
Within wilderness areas, we strive to restrain human influences so that ecosystems can change over time in their own way, free, as much as possible, from human manipulation. In these areas, as the Wilderness Act puts it, “the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man”.
Is landing a helicopter in a federal wilderness area to exercise man’s most invasive and domineering influence on the wild, the capture and collaring of wild wolves, consistent with that ideal ?
Why is the IDFG commission so agitated by the idea that wolves in wilderness would be allowed to be beyond man’s purview ? beyond the commission’s control ? Is the Salmon-Challis National Forest contributing upwards of a quarter million dollars of your tax-dollars to do so, or has Idaho had a sudden change of heart from its original decision that this would not be a responsible use of public funds ?
What did the Idaho Department of Fish & Game Commissioners talk about in their “off the public record” conversation?
Opportunity for Public Comment :
Scoping comments should be sent to: Salmon-Challis National Forest, Attn: William Wood, Forest Supervisor, 1206 S. Challis St., Salmon, Idaho 83467. Although your comments are always welcome, comments are most helpful to us if received by October 16, 2009. Electronic comments may be e-mailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org