ENDANGERED SPECIES – Public comments will be heard in Spokane on Tuesday on a recently released draft management plan with guidelines for removing gray wolves from Washington’s state endangered species list.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife will conduct the meeting at Spokane Valley Center Place, 2426 N. Discovery Place.
A meeting also will be held Monday in Colville at the Fairgrounds Ag-Trade Center, 317 W. Astor Ave.
Meetings begin at 6:30 p.m.
The proposed plan has guidelines for moving wolves to keep their populations at manageable limits, dictates how wolves may be scared off or killed and outlines how the state will balance the wolves’ appetite for big game with the state’s hunting seasons.
It also proposes generous compensation for ranchers who lose livestock to wolves, although it doesn’t say where the money will come from.
The draft plan is on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Web site and at libraries. Comments can be submitted online or by mail through Jan. 8.
Idaho wolf hunts nearing quotas
PREDATORS – Wolf hunters in some Idaho areas are nearing their quotas.
Department of Fish and Game officials are allowing up to 220 wolves to be killed across the state, but the quotas are divided into 12 hunting zones.
In three of the zones — the Upper Snake zone, the Palouse-Hells Canyon zone and the McCall-Weiser zone — kills are near the limits.
The Palouse-Hells Canyon zone limit is five wolves. Hunters have taken two.
In McCall-Weiser, 12 of the allowed 15 wolves have been shot, including one illegally.
Fertile ground for rescues
NATIONAL PARKS – Whether it’s saving a stranded hiker with a broken leg or fishing out a capsized boater, a new study says national parks launch 11 search-and-rescue operations on an average day.
Travis Heggie, University of North Dakota assistant professor who headed the study, analyzed search-and-rescue reports from 1992 to 2007, when more than 65,000 operations were recorded in national parks. Costs exceeded $58 million.
Those most commonly in need of help? Day hikers, young men and boaters. Weekends were the busiest.
Roughly 20 percent of the people who called for help likely would have died if they had not been rescued.
In 2005, half of the operations were in just five spots: Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park, New York’s Gateway National Recreation Area, California’s Yosemite National Park, Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park and Nevada’s Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
After high-profile operations, there’s often a debate over whether people should be billed for being plucked from the wilderness. The park service doesn’t seek reimbursement, partly because it might discourage people from calling for help when they need it.
The national park system has 391 sites around the country and attracted about 274 million visits last year.
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