EDITORIAL: Coastal wolf sanctuary is valid idea

Last week 7th Legislative Rep. Joel Kretz introduced a bill that would make Bainbridge Island a wolf sanctuary.

The bill is also sponsored by Tom Dent of Moses Lake and Carolyn Eslick of Sultan.

“The legislation continues to build throughout the state by the opportunities created as Washington’s wolf population continues to grow,” the text of the bill says. “Unfortunately, only a limited number of Washington residents are able to appreciate these majestic creatures in the wild. While the number of packs continues to multiply, they remain largely isolated in concentrated pockets of eastern Washington.”

At first glance, it seems unrealistic to put wolves in such a densely

populated area. But then again, if western Washington lawmakers are so gung-ho on the preservation and expansion of the state’s wolf population, perhaps they should experience them in their own backyards.

“In northeast Washington we’ve got the majority of the state’s wolves, yet it seems we have the least amount of say in how to deal with problem wolves and the impacts they have on our rural ranching and farming

economies,” Kretz said. “It just seemed natural to flip that a bit and maybe send some wolves back to a location where folks who don’t have to deal with wolves sure seem to have a lot to say about ‘em. We’re more than willing to share the ones we have with folks in western Washington who are perhaps more able to appreciate the gray wolf in all its apex predatory glory.”

The Columbia Basin Herald editorial staff published their opinion Jan. 31, saying one problem in a state like ours, where population is largely concentrated in a single urban area, is having large areas governed by a majority that doesn’t live there.

“While we bear Bainbridge Island no malice, we do feel that it is

manifestly unfair for people who are safe to vote others into danger and to inflict on rural people problems which they themselves do not share,” voiced the newspaper’s editors. “If the wolf must be at the door, let it be at the door of those who insisted on inviting it.”

We at The Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle agree.

While the four counties in eastern Washington where 95 percent of the state’s wolf population reside may not be as densely populated as

Bainbridge Island, for people living in areas where wolves are now coming into their back yards, those small numbers are every bit as important as the large numbers in western Washington.

Especially when that one small number is a 5-year-old child.

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