In January of 2017, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation first raised a warning about a “quiet” movement. In 2018, RMEF distributed an open letter to its membership in Colorado and Utah about an effort that was quiet no more. And in April of 2019, RMEF broke the news that many of the same extreme environmental groups that filed lawsuit after lawsuit over a mid-1990s operation that placed wolves in the Northern Rockies are now sponsoring a ballot initiative to forcefully introduce wolves into Colorado.
“To be clear, RMEF strongly opposes the forced introduction of gray wolves to Colorado,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “We have witnessed 20 plus years of lies and litigation in the Northern Rockies concerning wolves. This Colorado effort is driven by the same groups using the same tactics to accomplish their agenda.”
“This is a new technique and new way of trying to do it and I guess the groups that are promoting this, they apparently think they can skip the normal process for wildlife management that we have used in this country for more than 100 years,” Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer, told the Colorado Sun. “This will have to be more of a grassroots campaign. We are going to have to get the word out more broadly and more regularly and with good basis to cause people to really think about what they are signing or voting for. This is a new game.”
Initiative 79 would place wolves on the ground in western Colorado by December 31, 2023. Extreme environmentalist groups behind I-79 foresee a wolf population of at least 1,000 and are firmly against hunting and trapping. Translation: they want a wolf population that is unmanaged and will have a tangible and yet drastic impact on elk, moose and mule deer populations as well as the outdoor industry that spends more than $3.5 billion annually in Colorado.
“Stopping 79 will be a historic fight that is won through a broad-based coalition of grassroots citizens who will mobilize to stop forced wolf introduction in Colorado before it’s too late,” Denny Behrens, Colorado Stop the Wolf Coalition co-chairman, told the Colorado Sun. “When voters see through the deception from these misguided proponents, they will know the facts and agree this is a bad idea that will end in tragedy if we don’t stop it.”
Colorado Parks and Wildlife is already on record as opposing a forced reintroduction. Additionally, the Colorado Wildlife Commission previously rejected a 2016 proposal to introduce wolves into Colorado.
RMEF will be on the frontlines and calls on sportsmen and women across Colorado and the nation to become educated, raise awareness and join the fight.