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Dear Editor:

Lots of Coloradans; a very large and diverse collection of stakeholders, are involved in this question…its funding and application.  My interests, largely, remain wholly-personal.

I’ve lived and camped in Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming, and of course, the Tetons and Yellowstone for well-over 20-years.  Other than a practical interest in hungry large bears, the calls of coyotes and wolves have always captivated me.  It wasn’t fear that held my attention, but rather, it was a deep and silent fascination.  Something out there, another apex-predator still existed, and it always mesmerized and excited me – it still does.

Concerns regarding wolf reintroduction are equally real and heartfelt.  The Proposition mandates a very slow reintroduction with ongoing public input and plan modification throughout.  Wolves chase down their prey (unlike ambushing mountain lions) and often target old and weak animals that might have otherwise died from starvation or disease.  Wolves also can make big game warier and use habitat differently by seeking greater cover (timbered areas).  Noteworthy, reduced automobile collisions are a documented result of wolf reintroduction.

Importantly, the Proposition also includes compensation (to be disbursed quickly) to reimburse ranchers for livestock lost due to predation.  Concerns regarding the economic costs of fewer deer and elk tags/licenses and consumptive use, can be wholly-offset by the added non-consumptive value of tourists viewing wolves, but knowingly, we should ALL understand and pay for the economic costs of wolf-reintroduction, but there’s still more.

A comment was made recently by a cattle rancher in Oregon regarding compensation, “you can’t compensate us for what we feel.”

It’s true, compensation helps economically, but understanding the concerns and interests of all Coloradans is the only hope for successful wolf reintroduction.  Proposition 114 accomplishes that on paper, but importantly, what remains to be done is up to all of us.  I still long for the sights and sounds of wolves…in Colorado.

Erick Miller