By Dan Thompson
Bitterroot Ridgerunners Snowmobile Club Newsletter
In the face of dozens of lawsuits filed by environmental groups, the US Fish & Wildlife Service is proposing to list the wolverine as an endangered species.
However, the proposed listing, published in the February 4 Federal Register, contains a pleasant surprise. In this proposed rule, USFWS identifies the threat to wolverines in the Northern Rockies to be climate change and specifically excludes human activities such as snowmobiling, backcountry skiing, and land management activities from regulation or restriction. This is an unexpected and unusually sensible proposal and seems to indicate that USFWS is aware of radical some groups intent to use the Endangered Species Act to exclude winter sports from vast areas of high country. The Idaho State Snowmobile Association is proposing a new and novel approach to the ESA listing of wolverines. ISSA, working with noted wolverine researcher Jeff Copeland, foresee the possible temporary closure of small areas when denning sites are clearly identified in that area. This makes snowmobilers part of the solution rather than part of the problem. The Bitterroot Ridgerunners are studying the proposed rule to list wolverines and will submit comments to USFWS. Members interested in more information or in submitting comments should contact Dan Thompson at 642-9824.