Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Idaho violates the Wilderness Act and wolves die

By Leonard Hitchcock

Where in Idaho can a wolf find a friend? Obviously not among the cattlemen, or the sheep men, and certainly not among the hunters and outfitters, whose credo seems to be: If humans enjoy killing another species, like elk, then they have the right to eliminate any non-human predator that reduces their chances of doing so.
And then there are all those Idahoans who may not feel any particular animosity toward wolves, but for whom wolves symbolize the big, bad federal government’s unwelcome interference in Idaho’s affairs. These are the same people who eagerly help themselves to federal agricultural support payments and tax subsidies and cheap grazing fees for public lands, and snatch at dollars flowing into the state from innumerable other federal programs, but who feel that only Idahoans have a right to control that land within the state that legally belongs to all the citizens of the nation.
When the U.S. Congress – which is to say, the people of this country – passed the Wilderness Act, in 1964, its intentions were perfectly clear. The country was in danger of losing all those areas in which nature alone shaped the landscape and the living things within it: areas that could still remind us of the America that Europeans found several hundred years ago when they appropriated it and began the inexorable process of transforming it to suit their needs and desires; areas in which we can now find solitude and rejuvenation; where we can reestablish contact with the daily rhythms and activities of a living world independent of us, a world in which we are now, of necessity, only visitors, yet one to which we are still attuned because it is akin to the world in which our species evolved.