November 22, 2004 11:00 pm

Wolf up, elk down

To the Editor:

With the controversy over the Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, which appears to me to have been developed using too much emotion and not enough common sense, how much time was spent looking at what has happened in the tri-state Rocky Mountain Recovery Area of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho?

In the 10 years since wolves were reintroduced there, their numbers have gone from less than 50 to more than 660. In the same time the numbers of elk and deer have fallen dramatically.

Here in Eastern Oregon we are already experiencing lower numbers of elk and deer due at least in part to increasing numbers of bears and cougar.

Biologists estimate that 20 wolves would kill up to 400 elk and deer each year. Even if we were able to manage wolf numbers at 80 in Eastern Oregon, that would be devastating to our big game populations.

Since wolves do not self-regulate they must be managed, and who pays for that? In the tri-state area it is estimated that each state will be required to spend $300,000 to $400,000 per year to keep wolf numbers in check. If I'm not mistaken, the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife is having budget problems now, without adding this extra burden.

Wyoming's management plan is controversial but may be a good approach for Oregon to look at. They would have a "dual status" provision that would place wolves in most parts of the state in the same category as coyotes, where wolves could be shot at any time without a hunting license.

In other areas such as designated wilderness areas, wolves would be under a status with hunting seasons requiring a license and tag.

The bottom line is that wolves are not endangered in North America and do not need special protections as their range expands.

Mark Barber

La Grande


Clear cars from parade route

To the Editor:

My grandchildren and I and several other members of my family attended the Veterans' Day parade. It was a wonderful parade, marred only by one thing: the cars parked along both sides of the street made it hard to see everything.

How much trouble would it be to clear those few blocks for that short time? Otherwise it was very enjoyable.

Sandy Turnbull

La Grande


Happy time for all

To the Editor:

The Willow Elementary School students enjoyed a field trip Nov. 1 and downtown

La Grande was the beneficiary.

The kids did a great job of picking up after our Halloween weekend.

The project was the frosting on the cake for the Downtown Development Association, which organized the trick or treat that took place on Adams Avenue, Oct. 29. By several counts we tallied over a thousand trick or treaters in the heart of our town that day. Regular business was virtually shut down for a short time while we tended to the mass of happy kids, parents and grandparents.

The large turn-out surprised us. We had prepared for 500 to 600. But it was a good time. Kids were polite and orderly to an amazing degree. The numerous chaperones shared nice comments with us while helping to contain the exuberance to some extent. They deserve our thanks too.

The contribution of Willow School and Dennis Young just topped it all off beautifully. 'Twas a Happy Halloween indeed. For our part, we'll do again next year.

Doug Campbell

La Grande Downtown Development Assn.


Misuse kills privilege

To the Editor:

Concerning the article on off-road vehicle misuse in The Observer of Nov. 12: The people doing this couldn't care less about how the rest of us feel but, like it or not, they are helping get the forest locked up and keeping all of us out.

I have to admit it would make me mad to pack all my hunting gear in, set up for my hunt and then have some person ride by on an ATV just as the game was starting to move.

However, after being hurt in an accident a few years ago and losing the ability to pack all my gear in, I understand the need for some people to use them just to get to where they hunt. By this I mean using the roads and skid trails that are already in place, not cross country.

There is now a plan to ban all ATVs from any national forests unless that road or trail is specifically posted open to ATV use. There was a public comment period this summer, and now if this rule passes the only thing needed to keep us off the roads and trails is not posting the signs saying we can ride.

Not enough funds is all it will take to keep us off the roads. We already have a system in place that allows us to ride on the roads and trails unless they are posted. Most of these signs are already up, so why change a system that works?

There will never be enough funds to make all the changes needed to make the new system work. The result is you and I will be ticketed if we ride on the road. Why are we changing a system that works?

J.R. Kauffman

La Grande


Consider adopting pet

To the Editor:

If you've ever been in the market for a pet, you've most likely thought about adopting an animal from the nearby shelter. But free kittens and puppies are ever-present, leaving abandoned dogs and cats waiting in the shelters.

Why would you pay to adopt a dog or cat when you could get one for free? Well, free doesn't necessarily mean no charge, and in fact it just may cost you more.

Free animals generally don't come fixed, vaccinated or wormed. The cost for spaying or neutering a kitten, along with worming and vaccinating, range from $74 to $115 at local veterinarians.

You could walk out the door of the shelter with a ready-to-go kitten for $45 to $67, depending on the animal's gender and status. That includes worming and vaccinating, a complete wellness check, two months of free pet insurance and a voucher for spaying or neutering at area animal clinics.

With savings ranging from $29 to $48, why wouldn't you adopt? And the same savings apply to dogs.

The Blue Mountain Humane Association and the Louise M. McNeely Animal Shelter, 3212 Highway 30, offer a variety of pets for reasonable adoption fees.

Spaying or neutering a pet is mandatory for all animals adopted from the shelter. The Humane Society of the U.S. estimates that anywhere from 6 million to 8 million dogs and cats enter shelters each year.

Adoption fees may at first not appeal, but in reality those fees are reasonable. Adopting from the shelter and paying the fee is actually more cost effective than getting a pet for free. And knowing that you've saved a stray dog or cat might just make your day.

For information call Tabbie Coulter at 963-0807 or visit the Web site at www.bmhumane.org .

Emily Folkestad

La Grande