PAT NEAL COLUMN: ‘Translocating’ wolves to the Peninsula

WHO SAYS THERE is no good news?

Not me.

In an exclusive interview with PDN Managing Editor Leah Leach, state Department of Fish and Wildlife officials revealed plans that could bring wolves back to the Olympic Mountains.

I can’t wait.

The reintroduction plan mumbo jumbo says gray wolves might be “translocated” from other areas of the state where people are sick of them.

This is different from wolf “relocation” plan that got the locals so steamed the last time the state tried it in the late 1990s.

However the wolf is located here doesn’t matter.

The howl of the wolf is the true symbol of the wilderness.

It was really too bad that wolves were eradicated back in the 1920s in the first place.

Even back then, the wolves had become a casualty — like the 100-pound salmon and the poor bull trout — of the human over-population of the North Olympic Peninsula.

I can think of no better way to restore the wilderness than to return the wolf to its native land.

The reappearance of the wolf could be the key to the restoration of the entire ecosystem.

This place once supported vast herds of elk and deer, and packs of wolves that followed them with the seasons, from the Olympic Mountains in summer to the fertile lowlands in winter.

The delta of the Dungeness River was once prime wolf habitat.

The Sequim Prairie was a 1,500 acre savannah grassland maintained by the Native American practice of periodic burning to provide feed that would attract game.

In the 1700s, Capt. George Vancouver named the area Dungeness because of the “lawns” that reminded him of the beauty of his native England.

In the 1800s, James Swan described the vast game herds of the Sequim Prairie.

The Sequim-Dungeness area along with the rest of the Peninsula has been subsequently impacted by a sudden and dramatic increase in the human population.

Millions of people have moved to Washington since 1920, when the Peninsula was first determined too small for humans and wolves to get along.

Any responsible wolf recovery program would have to include a significant reduction of the human population along with the restoration of the wolf’s prey species and the rehabilitation of their lowland winter habitat.

I’m not suggesting that people be forcibly removed from their homes for wolf habitat.


I would expect those who support the wolf habitat recovery program to move voluntarily.

Any reactionary anti-wolf obstructionists whose bourgeois sensibilities foster an unhealthy emotional attachment to their homes are liable to change their tune and become willing sellers after they are surrounded by packs of howling wolves.

The Olympic wolf was known to attack people.

In June 1916, Chris Morganroth was treed by a pair of wolves near the Lillian River.

After the experience he said:

“A revolver has the same value in the Olympics as on the Texas border.”

Morganroth was a pioneer homesteader who served as a wilderness forest ranger for 25 years.

He survived a shipwreck, forest fires, floods and a plane crash in the high Olympics, so what makes you think you’re tougher than he was?

Here in the state of Washington, we try to manage our wildlife without hurting anyone’s feelings.

Country folks are tired of getting their beloved pets and livestock eaten by the current plague of cougars that we are experiencing now.

Reintroducing the wolves here will just make the cougars more ravenous.

City folks love wolves.

So I would suggest the wolves be located to a location that affords the maximum benefit to the ecosystem — our state Capitol in Olympia.

We’ll thank ourselves later if we do the right thing now.


A public meeting on the state’s proposed wolf management plan will be held in the Guy Cole Convention Center at Carrie Blake Park in Sequim from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday.

Pat Neal is a North Olympic Peninsula fishing guide and humorist. His column appears every Wednesday.

Pat can be reached at 360-683-9867 or, or see his blog at

The “Pat Neal Wildlife Show” is on radio KSQM 91.5 FM ( at 9 a.m. Saturdays, repeated at 6 p.m. Tuesdays.

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