Can wolf watching make money outside of Yellowstone?

People have been paying for wolf outings in Yellowstone for years now and it is pretty big business there. Can it work in Idaho too? I think it depends on many variables.

Could Idaho’s wolves be a tourist attraction? Some see potential for ‘hunting’ the predators with cameras, binoculars
BY JOE JASZEWSKI – Idaho Statesman

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Ken Cole

Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project. We do not accept unsolicited “guest” authors or advertising.

8 Responses to Could Idaho's wolves be a tourist attraction?

  1. Jay Barr says:

    Some of the comments posted with the story itself go to show what IDans are up against regarding the attitude towards wolves- many commenters scoffed at the $$ YNP derives from wolf-related tourism- claining those figures were concocted by pro-wolf/University types. It could work in ID, but for the State; despite their contention that wolf viewing is something they would keep in mind, they would never purposefully set aside an area where wolves were not hunted or subject to control, even in the Wilderness. And without doubt it would be much more difficult in ID than YNP to observe wolves with regularity under any circumstances

  2. Save bears says:

    I have no problem with the whole wolves bring business theory, but I would sure like to see the economic growth that should be happening with this amount of money, and so far, I have not seen it, there is very little growth going on in the gateway towns to Yellowstone and it should be..

  3. Fen says:

    Well, economic growth and conservation don’t exactly go hand in hand nor share similar goals.

  4. ProWolf in WY says:

    I think it could be possible, but locals will have to stop demonizing wolves so much.

  5. Tim B says:

    Does Idaho have a Lamar Valley type place where the wolf could become a tourist attraction? While I’ve only driven through Sun Valley a few times I cannot image spending a night in that town much less a long weekend hoping to see a wolf. Stanley, Idaho maybe? Seems like Yellowstone is such a unique location that no place in Idaho could hope to come close to what they have in YNP. Then again, it’s hard to imagine any place in the lower 48 having similar potential. Would be nice if this could happen in Idaho though.

    • Save bears says:

      Diversity is a good thing Pro, we can’t turn every place into Yellowstone, there are many places in Idaho, to sit and watch wildlife, but it will never be a Yellowstone and will always be a distant second to Glacier…IMHO

    • Save bears says:

      Opps, got screwed up, I should have said Tim!!

  6. It is certainly feasible to encourage wolf watching in Idaho – or maybe better wildlife watching. Wildlife (soft) tourism is flourishing all across the globe. From a touristic point of view and from my view “from abroad” Idaho is a “white sheet of paper”. But, from what I got from this blog, it certainly sounds interesting. One should not always compare with Yellowstone. Yellowstone is kind of unique and always offering something. If you got a lull day for wildlife watching you do something else, geyser watching maybe. But, is the Lamar wolf watching circus desirable? Idaho surely has other, different attractions. You need not much touristic “infrastructure” if you want to attract the “serious” hiker but you´ll need a bit more if the high-end tourist is your goal. Look what the term “safari tent” means nowadays. Tourism is an industry and needs to be developed.


April 2010


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey