Thank you to all who have submitted letters!
Writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper is an excellent way to raise awareness about critically endangered Mexican gray wolves and the steps needed to help them thrive. Surveys of newspaper readers show that the letters page is among the most closely read parts of the paper. It’s also the page policy-makers look to as a barometer of public opinion.
Below are some recent letters that have been published.
The Salt Lake Tribune – April 2, 2013
It was disturbing to read in Tom Wharton’s eye-opening “Sportsmen for Fish & Wildlife about wrong kind of bucks” (Tribune, March 21) that the husbandry of our state’s wildlife has been hijacked by special interest groups whose money influences the policies of the Division of Wildlife Resources.
The management of wildlife should be driven by science, not the whims of politicians or the pet projects of donor groups.
Wharton’s article highlights another in a series of recent examples demonstrating that, in our state government, policies and favors can be bought for the right amount of money.
Why do we tolerate it?
Allan W. Smart
Salt Lake City
Paying Peay’s handout
The Salt Lake Tribune – March 19, 2013
Re” Anti-wolf group likely to get second $300,000 Utah payment” (Tribune, March 10):
Thank you for Brian Maffly’s disturbing piece on the cynical politics at work in Utah, where the state’s tax dollars are being spent to enrich Big Game Forever, founder Don Peay and his cronies at the expense of education, wolves and the Endangered Species Act. Thanks to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, buying loyalty from a public servant is no longer considered a shameful act.
In a state with a reputation as the “most depressed,” where the rate of suicide by self-inflicted (obviously) gunshotoutnumbers deaths in car accidents, one would expect lawmakers to focus on the contributing causes of these social ills rather than finding ways to drain public coffers to allow “recreational” hunters more opportunities to slaughter wildlife.
When I lived in Utah, I loved its wild places. But it has devolved into an asylum for pleonexics. Utah is No. 16 in the nation in foreclosures.
Utah’s representatives have voted for austerity measures and against funding to help victims of Superstorm Sandy, but they have no trouble giving handouts to the likes of Don Peay.
Wolves in Utah
The Salt Lake Tribune – March 13, 2013
Utah owes a thank-you to Paul Rolly for exposing the shenanigans in its Legislature. Most recently, the proposed appropriation of $300,000 of our tax money for Washington anti-wolf lobbyists (“Saving Red Riding Hood,” Tribune, March 4). It would be more laughable if it were not such a waste in a state with so many unmet needs.
To add insult to injury, this waste of tax dollars goes to oppose wolves in Utah, something a majority of Utahns support. Wolves are native to Utah, but they were killed off by 1930.
Utah has plenty of space for wolves, such as in the Uinta Mountains, the Tavaputs Plateau, the Abajo Mountains and Elk Ridge and the Tushar Mountains. All that is missing is tolerance, understanding and a willingness to live with the full web of life in which wolves play a necessary balancing role.
Many Utahns want to hear wolves howl in the national forests in Utah. The Legislature should hear our voices, too, not just the special interests of the ranching and hunting lobbies.
Bob Brister Membership and wildlife coordinator Utah Environmental Congress
Salt Lake City
Why keep wolves out?
The Salt Lake Tribune – March 12, 2013
The Utah Legislature’s Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environmental Quality Committee voted to appropriate $300,000 to send anti-wolf extremists to lobby Congress to forever remove wolves from protection under the Endangered Species Act (“Saving Red Riding Hood,” Tribune, March 4).
The bulk of credible science emphasizes the essential role that large carnivores play in forest and other wildland health, including recovery of aspen and streamside vegetation, and long-term viability of populations of deer, elk and other wildlife.
In addition, recent studies show most Utahns (74 percent) and Utah hunters (54 percent) like wolves and seem to understand their importance in the ecological scheme of things.
This impressive body of scientific research, which indicates that large predators enhance ecological stability and biological diversity, has had no apparent effect on the rhetoric or policies of some so-called sportsmen, especially the aspiring Washington lobbyist under consideration by our elected officials.
Absent in our Legislature is an informed discussion on the ecologic value of intact public lands and the role all native wildlife play.
At a time when critical services, such as education, are struggling for desperately needed resources, it is particularly egregious to even consider funding an effort to return Utah to 19th-century wildlife management practices.
Wolf spending wasteful
Desert News — March 7, 2013
Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife wants Utah taxpayers to give them $300,000 to pay Washington lobbyists to fight wolf reintroduction in Utah. (Since when is the wolf not wildlife?) The proposal was made by Sen. Ralph Okerlund in a meeting of the Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee and received enthusiastic support from the group’s founder, Don Peay.
Incredibly, not a single member of the subcommittee asked why such an extravagant appropriation of taxpayer money to a special interest is warranted, given that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has never proposed reintroducing wolves to Utah and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources did not support the request. Wolves might disperse back to Utah naturally to resume their vital ecological functions, but that is another matter. In any case, in 2005 the state Legislature adopted a wolf management plan in anticipation of that eventuality.
For a state chronically on a tight budget that has fallen to dead last in per-pupil spending on education, this waste of taxpayer money would seem foolish at best, malevolent at worst.
Below are some recent articles that offer letter to the editor opportunities. Contact information and talking points are provided with each article.
Albuquerque Journal, Rene Romo, April 27, 2013
Los Angeles Times, April 25, 2013
Associated Press, April 24, 2013