Hosted by the Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project
Start: Alpine, Arizona on July 8, 2012
End: South Rim of the Grand Canyon on October 13, 2012
Finale Celebration — Flagstaff, AZ on October 20, 2012
Day hikers, mountain bikers and volunteers needed!
The Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project is excited to host a wolf advocacy campaign relay hike from July to October 2012 that will follow a natural dispersal corridor, connecting the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area (where Mexican gray wolves currently live) to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon (where we are advocating for their return). Mexican wolves are capable of traversing hundreds of miles, and need room to roam in order to establish a metapopulation structure to preserve remaining genetic diversity.
Two wolves have been documented in the Flagstaff area since the initial release of Mexican wolves into Arizona in 1998. In 2000, a female Mexican wolf wandered northward, eventually traveling over 200 miles until a vehicle struck and killed her just twelve miles north of Flagstaff on US Highway 89. In 2001, federal and state wildlife agencies reported that a radio-collared, yearling male lobo traveled from his reintroduction site in the Apache National Forest to the Mormon Lake vicinity on the Coconino National Forest south of Flagstaff. The agency biologists later tracked him moving south to Clear Creek and then eastward along the Mogollon Rim headwaters. It is possible he was following the scent of the female wolf who traveled this route before him, seeking out a mate he would never find. Our sojourner was shot and illegally killed in early 2002.
We know wolves will follow the forested higher elevations of the Mogollon Rim region northward to the Coconino and Kaibab National Forests of the Grand Canyon region if they are allowed to do so. Teams of volunteer hikers (and mountain bikers in select sections of the route) will trace a path of dispersal along an important wildlife corridor on national forest land over 400 miles that these two wolves traveled and future wolves might journey, and document conditions along the way. Hikers will share their direct experiences of suitable wolf country in the Grand Canyon region to online followers though video diaries, blog posts, photographs, and updates posted on social media and this website.
Outreach events in conjunction with the hike will be arranged in communities along the trek including Alpine, Pinetop-Lakeside and Flagstaff, along with a concluding event at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Events will highlight current status and plight of Mexican wolves in Arizona, the rule that prohibits their establishment of territories wholly outside the recovery area and the adjoining Fort Apache Indian Reservation, conditions and dangers (such as roads) that wolves might face along the way, and the suitability of wolf recovery in the Grand Canyon region.
Please visit gcwolfrecovery.org for more information.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to become involved.
Mexican gray wolf photo courtesy of Nate Renn