What to do about the wolves?
HOUGHTON – Isle Royale National Park will hold several pairs of public meetings looking at wolf management on the island and the park’s cultural resources plan.
The first wolf meeting will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Magnuson Hotel Franklin Square Inn in Houghton, followed by the cultural resources plan from 6 to 8 p.m. The wolf meeting will include a presentation at 3:30 p.m.; the one for the cultural resources plan will be at 6:15 p.m.
During the wolf meeting, the natural resources team will present information about the history of wolves on Isle Royale, climate change implications and their current and future status. After the presentation, the public can discuss natural resources, ecology, climate change and wildlife management as well as ask questions and provide comments to park staff.
The last monitoring of the wolf population, typically done in February or March, put the population at 10.
“It seems to have stabilized at the lower level, but it’s really too early to tell,” said Paul Brown, chief of natural resources at the park.
Options being considered are adding wolves to the existing population, the possible reintroduction of wolves if the current population disappears naturally and a hands-off approach.
The presentation will also include the potential effects of climate change. Being in the middle of Lake Superior, Isle Royale’s future is harder to predict with models, Brown said.
“The best projections from climatologists are that the island is going to most likely warm up and dry out,” he said. “That’s going to negatively affect the moose population, and anything that affects the moose population would negatively impact the wolf population as well.”
The park is also developing a plan for managing its cultural resources. In the meetings, the planning team will present alternative concepts from the preliminary drafts that give a range of options for managing, treating and interpreting cultural resources.
Afterwards, the public will be able to discuss the alternative concepts with the team, as well as other ideas about the plan and planning process.
“Isle Royale has such interesting and varied cultural resources and associated compelling stories,” Green said in a statement. She called on people to meet with the planning team “and let us know how they would like to see cultural resources managed in the future.”
A newsletter with information on the planning process, preliminary alternative concepts, a draft park foundation document and a comment card is available at Isle Royale headquarters and online at parkplanning.nps.gov/ISROcrmp. Comments can be submitted online at the site by clicking “Open for Comment” on the left sidebar and selecting “CRMP Newsletter 2.” Written comments can be submitted by Dec. 4 to National Park Service; Attention: Brenda Todd, ISRO CRMP Project Manager; Denver Service Center, Planning Division; PO Box 25287; Denver, CO, 80225-0287.
Several additional meetings are scheduled, with the same times:
Nov. 14: Chelsea, Mich., Chelsea Depot.
Nov. 19: St. Paul, TBA (wolf), Minnesota History Center (cultural resources).
Nov. 20: Duluth, Environmental Protection Agency Mid-Continent Ecology Division Laboratory (wolf), Great Lakes Aquarium (cultural resources).