Wolf supporters say they have 200,000 signatures for reintroduction question on 2020 ballot
The fight to return wolves to Colorado’s West Slope begins now.
With wolf pack of supporters planning on Tuesday to submit more than 208,000 signatures supporting a November 2020 ballot measure calling for the reintroduction of wolves to Colorado, voters could soon hear a pitched howling over wolves for most of next year.
“This is our last opportunity to do it right and to restore the balance,” said Rob Edward, whose Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund has been collecting signatures since June for a 2020 ballot measure — Initiative 107 — that directs the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission to craft a plan to restore and manage gray wolves in Colorado by the end of 2023. The group needs about 124,000 valid signatures to qualify for the 2020 ballot.
As the group transitions from harvesting signatures to swaying voters, opponents of wolf reintroduction are girding for battle. And it’s a new type of battle for opponents of wolf reintroduction, who in other states across the West and Great Lakes region have lobbied wildlife commissioners — not voters — to oppose reintroduction. The Colorado Stop the Wolf Coalition is strategizing a first-ever public campaign, seeking to educate voters on potential negative impacts of introducing the wolf to the state.
“There are a lot of people who don’t want wolves brought into Colorado. We just can’t sustain another predator in this state,” said Denny Behrens, co-chair of the Stop the Wolf Coalition.
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Wolves were a problem for ranchers when Kip Gates’ great-great-grandfather homesteaded in the area. He doesn’t want the problem to return.