Wolves and humans
Although the recent news story about a researcher who encountered wolves is not complete in details, it does indicate the incident took place near a wolf rendezvous site, and that the behavior was defensive, not aggressive. It should be the responsibility of the U.S. Forest Service and other government agencies to educate their employees who enter remote areas where they may encounter wolves or other large carnivores. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) Wolf Conservation and Management Plan emphasizes the importance of public education and outreach. WDFW has not put sufficient effort into public education about the behavior of wolves and the best ways for people respond to their presence.
Wolf biologists commonly enter wolf dens (while no adults are in), or inspect carcasses wolves are feeding upon. The typical response of wolves is to circle around at a short distance while woofing. This is not aggressive behavior but a polite notice that you have intruded into the area of a den, rendezvous site or food source. Just as we would do if we accidentally surprise a doe with a fawn, we should move away.
WDFW should especially ensure that hunters are well informed about the meaning of wolves exhibiting this kind of behavior. Educational pamphlets should be a conspicuous part of hunting licenses and be made readily available to other citizens who may encounter wolves.
While wolf (in the wild) attacks on humans in North America are very rare, wolves are potentially dangerous predators. In March 2010, a young woman in Alaska was fatally attacked by wolves. She was jogging at night in a remote place known to have wolves. In the past 50 years only one other fatal incident might be attributable to wolves. This occurred in Saskatchewan and involved a young man who went to a refuse dump at night to observe wolves and bears. For more information about human interactions with wolves, “A case History of Wolf-Human Encounters in Alaska and Canada” (2002, Alaska Department of Fish Game) is a credible source of information, and available online.
Gary Ott, Twisp
Vote for Diamond
Of course, I am voting for Ann Diamond as representative of our 12th District. I mean, she paddled a canoe downstream to rescue my mother from the middle of the Methow River in late March, when my mom accidentally lost control of her car and headed over the bank, ending up mid-stream. Ann has my total respect and gratitude.
But why should you vote for Ann? She responded instantly when she heard that a neighbor was in trouble because she cares about all of her community. She assessed the situation quickly, made a mental inventory of useful tools in the vicinity, enlisted cooperation from others on the scene, decided on a plan of action and made sure that rescuers were safe during the rescue. She exhibited decisive leadership based on thoughtful evaluation of the situation.
These strong leadership traits are essential for meaningful representation of our District in Olympia. Let’s put her in a position of leadership for the 12th District. Vote for the doctor.
Shirlee Evans, Twisp
Campfire ban supported
A big thanks to the Methow Valley-Okanogan Ranger District for banning campfires in the national forest and Pasayten Wilderness. The potential for a campfire to grow out of control, with its accompanying smoke, destruction and economic turmoil, is just too great a risk to take. Nice job, rangers! Can we make this annual? Say, no fires between June 1 and Oct. 1?
Brian Sweet, Winthrop
Diamond for District 12
I have known Ann Diamond for many years. Our relationship began when she volunteered in my first-grade classroom that her son attended. She came once a week despite her busy schedule as a doctor at the Country Clinic in Winthrop and was enthusiastically willing to help with any classroom tasks that I threw at her. She was always dependable and treated everyone with respect. Many years later I count her as a close friend and continue to appreciate her honesty and forthrightness. She is very transparent about expressing her views on any subject and is guided by unrelenting integrity. I am hopeful that she will represent the voters of District 12 as state representative. I know she will make decisions by assessing what is best for the people in every situation rather that just following party lines. Please strongly consider casting your vote for Ann Diamond as an Independent representative who will listen to people’s needs and desires.
Kathy Williams, Winthrop