Idaho county declares disaster over wolves

Trouble is, there’s no disaster of any kind-

Idaho County declares disaster over wolves. By Jessie Bonner and John Miller. Associated Press Writers

This backcountry county wants the governor to declare a disaster, but they seem to have no information about anything terrible going on. Seems to me like a gross misuse of the process of declaring a disaster.



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  1. Barb Rupers Avatar
    Barb Rupers

    I was encouraged at the number of pro wolf comments posted to the news article.

    1. jon Avatar

      I was too. I thought when I went to the article it would be filled with all negative comments posted by anti wolf extremists.

  2. Jon Way Avatar

    It is hard to take these people seriously when we know that the state of ID caters to extremists like this…

  3. JimT Avatar

    Could Idaho be returning to the days when most folks thought everyone there was a member of the Aryan Nation, only this time around, the extremists are the forefront of the Wing Nut Movement? ;*)

    Apologies to those who know they don’t have a screw loose…

    1. WM Avatar

      I am more inclined to believe this VERY rural county of 15,000 people is living in “Wolf Central.” If I am not mistaken this County includes the Selway, southern half of the Dworshak-Elk City, and Middlefork Wolf zones.They are right in the middle of the wolf population expansion.

      They may well be frustrated on a daily basis by the presence of more than they want, and can see the effects. Generally, probably not real sophistocated folks, with a belief in self-sufficiency. The county has 12%+ below the poverty line, and some may well rely on elk to feed their families (maybe even more than the legal limit) And, last, maybe they are getting their fifteen minutes of fame.

      Don’t know about the Aryan nation stuff. I thought that was primarily up north out of Sandpoint.

      1. Elk275 Avatar


        Read “In the Wilderness” by Kim Barnes. Today Kim is an English Professor at the University of Idaho. The book is about the mid 60’s to the mid 70’s growing up in the Lolo county in a logging camp and later Lewiston, Id. Ecellent book about the folks in the Lolo.

  4. Barb Rupers Avatar
    Barb Rupers


    Idaho County lies entirely south of the Clearwater-Lochsa River. It does includes the Middle and South Forks of the Clearwater River, Elk City, the Selway and much of the main Salmon River, but not Dworshak-Elk River country or Middle Fork of the Salmon.

    I have a daughter that lives in Idaho County and a brother that lives north of the river in Clearwater County both near the town of Kamiah. I haven’t asked in the last three months but up to that time they had never seen a wolf around town, nor while hunting; they did seen tracks of the O’Hara pack some years back while on the muzzle loader hunt in November. Also, daughter and family have gone on a horsepack trip into the Wood Lakes area near Grave Peak south of the infamous Lolo region every year for the last 10 or so; I went with them about 5 years ago; never any wolves or sign thereof. My daughter speaks of more than one occasion of veering from her intended direction in order to avoid moose; even last fall.

    1. WM Avatar

      ++Idaho County lies entirely south of the Clearwater-Lochsa River.++

      Unless my state map is wrong, I think your statement is incorrect. It is a very large county – 8,500 square miles. I looked on my ID state map and the combined ID wolf management zones which includes multiple game managment units (which I stated included the southern half of the Dworshak-Elk City wolf manangement zone, which means the Elk City GMU. The county line on my map shows Idaho County includes the Lochsa River east of confluence with the Clearwater, with an east west line from Kamiah that follows just north of the old Lolo Trail (Nimipoo), probably along the ridge line. Weippe is in Clearwater County as the line takes a jog south near Greer just off Hiway 12. Orofino is just inside Clearwater County by probably no more than 10 miles.

      I am very familiar with the Clearwater County country north of the Idaho County line, and can tell you there are lots of wolves there. Lots! And, if I recall correctly, a retired IDFG biologist who lived outside Pierce spoke of his belief there were wolves in that area (a very few, but nonetheless he believed it on good evidence) prior to the experimental population introduction.

      1. WM Avatar

        Ooops, …probably BEYOND the ridge line (north of the Lolo trail).

      2. Barb Rupers Avatar
        Barb Rupers

        Thanks for the map lesson. It looks to me that the northwestern county boundary follows Lolo Creek until it joins the main Clearwater just upriver of Greer. The powers that determine county boundaries then, from the headwaters of that creek about 30 miles NE of Kamiah, just drew a line NNE from there to Lolo Pass such that the northern Lochsa drainage is included in Idaho County and as you say most of the Lolo Trail lies south of this line; also, that part of the Dworshak GMU which lies between Lolo Creek and Clearwater River to the south is in Idaho County.

        My cousin has property east of Weippe on the breaks of Lolo Creek.

        “Idaho was first established as part of the Oregon Territory in 1858; then became part of the Washington Territory in 1859. Idaho became a territory 3 March 1863 and included all of Montana and most of Wyoming. The Montana Territory was carved out of Idaho in 1864 and Wyoming in 1868, leaving the present state configuration. Statehood was granted 3 July 1890. ”

        “Nez Perce, Idaho, Shoshone, and Owyhee Counties were established in 1861 while Idaho was part of the Washington Territory. Boise, Alturas (eliminated in 1895) and Oneida were added in 1864-65 to form the six original counties. From this nucleus, the number of counties grew to 44. ”

        It appears that only Lemhi (and Custer later from Lemhi and Alturas) and part of Valley counties were divided from the original Idaho County. But did it extend into Montana before that territory was formed?

        Perhaps some of the Idaho “native” wolves should have been put into a captive breeding program to increase their numbers. Then there wouldn’t be the experimental, non-essential designation. Was that ever considered?

      3. WM Avatar


        I mis-spoke. The retired IDFG conservation officer, Gene Eastman, was from Weippe, not Pierce. Here is the article – a guest editorial – which appeared in the Clearwater Tribune last April. I know absolutely nothing of his credibility.

      4. Jay Avatar

        Last I checked, Hinton, Alberta (Jasper NP) and Williston Lake, BC (central portion of province), which is where the original wolves were captured, aren’t exactly wood bison hotspots (the bulk occurring in wood buffalo NP, Northwest Terr.). I wonder what Data Mr. Eastman has on his “smaller, native Idaho wolves” that were showing up? And I guess my next question is, where was the last hideout of the “native Idaho wolf” to repopulate the state after the poisoning program? Can you say “Canada”?

      5. jon Avatar

        From what I understand, size has nothing to do with being a different subspecies. As Jon Rachael and Jim Unsworth both have said, it has to do with how much food you get to eat. The more food a wolf eats, the likely chance it will be bigger than say a wolf that doesn’t eat as much food. I have also seen from some Idahoians claim that they have saw so called smaller native wolves before reintroduction. My personal belief is that these were lone dispersers from Canada. I don’t know why this size thing is constantly being brought up after biologists have debunked it.

      6. pointswest Avatar

        I saw a wolf around 1979 near the Buffalo Hump area of Idaho.

        I do not believe there is a “smaller native Idaho wolf” however. To get a subspecies, you need some kind of barrier to separate a populations from one another such as a wide desert or high mountain range. Wolves, in particular, can roam hundreds of miles in a week. Where would you find this barrier that separated an Idaho population of wolves from a Jasper population of wolves?

      7. Jay Avatar

        Oddly enough, those giant Canadian wolves that apparently gorge themselves silly on the remnant population of the larger subspecies of bison up North, hardly touch the smaller plains bison down in Y-stone. Weird. This warden should’ve done at least a modicum of research before writing this outright false opinion piece.

  5. Layton Avatar

    Just who are these “extremists” anyway? The whole population of the county? Maybe just 50%? I guess they don’t know anything in Idaho County.

    I find it interesting that the headline on this thread very learnedly espouses that “there is no disaster of any kind” and a few people that (I think) don’t live there and probably have damn little idea about what goes on talk very assuredly about “extremists” and aryan nations and “wing nuts”.

    Why is that? Usually there is some credibility attached to residents and people that spend a good deal of time there. Oh, gosh, I remember now, around here “knowledge” gleaned from the internet and law school takes over. Then of course coyote research on the East Coast gives one the scientific background to “know” exactly who the state of Idaho caters to.

    Give me a break!!

    1. jon Avatar

      You slick old devil you Layton. Taking shots at Jimt, Jon way, and myself.

    2. daniel Berg Avatar
      daniel Berg

      Layton –
      Is it your belief that if you are not a resident of Idaho County, you don’t have the right to express an opinion about what goes on there? To you, is the opinion of a hunter who has been there every season for 20 years held in higher regard than a biologist you perceive as pro-wolf who has studied it for 10? How do you make the distinction?

      This is aside from making generalizations about the residents.

      1. Layton Avatar


        I’m talking about the learned folks here making “generalizations” about the residents of the county in question.

        I really don’t think that these folks would know an aryan nations member from third base – nor do they have any idea what sort of demographics make up the population of Idaho county — that said, they sure as hell don’t have any trouble denigrating the population of the county OR the whole state for that matter.

        I get more than a little bit sick of that shit!!

      2. Daniel Berg Avatar
        Daniel Berg

        Layton –
        I’m interchanging stereotype and generalization because Im not sure which term is most appropriate.

        I guess there are more than a few comedians who have made careers out of poking fun at stereotypes…….and on the flipside there are more than a few people who have developed hardened hearts due to them also.

    3. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      For those who might not know the history, they Aryan Nations folks primarily settled in the area just north of the Idaho small city of Coeur d’ Alene northward towards Canada.

      Idaho County is to the south. The Aryan Nations folks were primarily people who migrated to Idaho rather than long time residents.

      The primary opponents of the Aryan Nations also came from the Coeur d’Alene area.

      1. Save bears Avatar
        Save bears


        They are still quite prevalent in the Hayden, Athol and Sandpoint area as well, when I was working there the last few months, it was not unusual to run into groups of them..

      2. jon Avatar

        They might be moving out of Idaho Ralph. This article is a few months ago, so maybe they have moved already.

      3. jon Avatar

        sb or anyone else, are the an considered a domestic terrorist group? I believe they have committed some murders.

    4. Cutthroat Avatar

      I must admit, what I know about Idaho County is ““knowledge” gleaned from the internet”, although I have read Kim Barnes book “In The Wilderness” and would recommend it. For some time now I have been reading the Idaho County Free Press online and would recommend it also. Most entertaining (in a demented sort of way) are the “Letters”. It fascinates me how some who are so close to me geographically can be so far apart with regard to world view. Here is one of my favorites and possibly representative of an “extremist” viewpoint, while I’m certain not representative of all residents of Idaho County (hopefully not even 50%). It struck me so much when I first read it that I’ve saved it ever since….

      Sunday, February 07, 2010

      Letters Opinion-Idaho County Free Press

      Stimulus, bailouts nothing but a joke, burden
      Letter – Olson
      From what I hear President Obama is going to give $100 million of taxpayers’ money to Haiti because of the earthquake they had? We all know it will end up being a whole lot more before it is over. I wouldn’t give them a dime in aid. Then we have these terrorists who use our taxpayers’ dollar to get lawyers to defend them. That is crazy! When they catch these terrorists they should put a bullet in their heads on the spot, that would be way-way cheaper. For the terrorists who are held in Guantanamo Bay, instead of shipping them back to the states for trial at taxpayers’ expense, which President Obama wants to do, let’s waterboard them and then line them up against the wall and put a bullet in their heads and get rid of them. It would be way-way cheaper. All of President Obama’s stimulus programs and bailouts are nothing but a joke and a big burden on the taxpayers. It seems President Obama wants to award companies and people who don’t help themselves and punish companies and people who succeed in life. It doesn’t make sense to me! Can we afford there more years of President Obama? I don’t think so! Don W. Olson Grangeville

  6. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    So wolves are a disaster there? Does that mean that everyone there is employed? Is nobody living below the poverty line? Is there a 100% graduation rate from their schools? Are all high school graduates going to college, not using drugs, and not getting pregnant? Are there no drunk drivers there? I think solving real disasters like this is probably more important than the wolf disaster. Just a thought.

    I have to say I am also surprised by all the pro wolf comments. Great minds must think alike! 🙂

  7. Cody Coyote Avatar
    Cody Coyote

    Desperate acts by desperate men. These are the times that try men’s spleens.

    Does anyone else see the humor value in this “declaration of disaster ” ?

    1. Save bears Avatar
      Save bears

      I think the humor value will diminish greatly if it is actually declared and approved…

      1. jon Avatar

        sb, you know a state has gone to shit when you have that state caring more about wolves and the so called devastating impacts they have on elk than getting people back to work and dealing with more important issues. The us is in a recession still and you have states complaining and whining about wolves eating elk. There is something very wrong with this picture. 1000 wolves in a state like Idaho and a few million people and they think that wolves are a threat. You are more likely to be shot from someone of your own species rather than being attacked and killed by a wolf.

      2. Save bears Avatar
        Save bears

        It might very well be Jon, but that does not change the fact that they are doing it.

        And If I remember right, Idaho, only has a little over a million people, not a few million people…

        It really does not matter how ludicrous it is, what you and I feel has no bearing on what they do or feel…

      3. jon Avatar

        Close to 2 million I believe, getting there anyways, I could be wrong, but I don’t think the # is all that important. If the state wants to waste their time and energy on an issue like wolves and their impacts on elk, fine, they will do what they want. I think more focus should be brought on more important issues like how to deal with this recession, but I understand and accept Idaho and the other wolf state will do as they please.

      4. timz Avatar

        I would guess it would take about 5 minutes to get an injunction against this nonsense if Clem is stupid enough to sign it.

      5. ProWolf in WY Avatar
        ProWolf in WY

        Jon, I agree, those are some pretty f—ed up priorities.

  8. pointswest Avatar

    I once worked for Clearwater Power that serves Idaho County with electrification. I also went to U of I where I had a few friends from Idaho Country. The largest town in Idaho Country is Grangeville. It is in a very fertile farming area called the Camas Prairie (not to be confuses with the Great Camas Prairie in southern Idaho) and there are several other small farming communities around the Camas Prairie. It has the deep canyons of the Snake and Salmon Rivers to the west and the Clearwater River Canyon to the north. Idaho County includes forested areas and wilderness to the east and south and so there are a few small villages that are or were, in part, logging towns.

    Idaho County has nothing to do with the Aryan Nations…that was near Hayden Lake far to the north.

    People from the Camas Prairie are decent people in my opinion. They are a lot like the people of southern Idaho except they are not Mormons. There are deer and elk on the Prairie in the ravines among the farm fields. I can remember a friend telling me his family would not kill an elk unless it was grain fed.

    You must bear in mind that in a small community such as Idaho County, it only takes one clique or clan of rednecks that might have control of the county government to pull something like this off. The vast majority of the county residents might have a more balanced view of wolves and may be against this political move.

    Governor Otter just thinks he’s some kind of Jr. Ronny Regan playing the role of “Rancher” in some Hollywood western to impress the public just before the election. I would not make too much of this.

    1. pointswest Avatar

      As far as what wilderness Idaho County contains…it is a lot. I just studied it in Google Earth. Idaho County includes the southern half of what is generally called the Lolo (the Idaho portion of the Lolo). It includes all of the Lochsa and Selway, it includes the Buffalo Hump area, and the norther half of Chamberline Basin in the River of No Return Wilderness.

      Probably 90% of the people in Idaho County are on the Camas Prarie, however, and most of those are farmers with some farmer-ranchers.

      1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

        Elk City (unincorporated) is about 30-40 miles up the South Fork of the Clearwater from Grangeville. There is essentially no human habitation between Grangeville and Elk City.

        Elk City was once a mining town, then a logging town, now it seems to mostly be recreation.

        It is one of the most remote towns in Idaho.

  9. Nancy Avatar

    Cody Coyote Says:
    September 18, 2010 at 10:20 AM
    Desperate acts by desperate men. These are the times that try men’s spleens.

    “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”
    Groucho Marx

  10. Alan Gregory Avatar

    Gee, with this reasoning, conservationists in Pa. could petition to have a federal disaster declaration over the loss of wildlife habitat due to suburban sprawl. Heck, there’s plenty of evidence just a few miles from where I sit.

    1. Save bears Avatar
      Save bears

      Its been done before Alan…


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Ken Cole