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An Open Letter To Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior

December 5, 2011


Honorable Ken Salazar
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington. D.C. 20240

Dear Secretary Salazar;

You and I have met. The photo here shows you and I shaking hands in the small western Montana town of Ovando.

During your visit to the “Crown of the Continent” this past summer, you stopped in Ovando to address a small crowd there to greet you, and to welcome you to the area.  You praised conservation efforts in the area to save several wildlife species. However, you totally failed to address a very serious wildlife conservation disaster – the extremely negative impact USFWS transplanted non-native wolves are having on elk, moose, deer and other big game populations right in that same exact area.

I was the one who dared to show up packing a wolf protest sign. If you remember, the sign read “Thank You U.S.F.W.S. – Non-Native Canadian Wolves!” I know that you read the sign.

When you were appointed Secretary of the Interior, you certainly inherited a lot of tainted USFWS baggage, especially with the wolf problem.

The sportsmen of the Northern Rockies have grown weary of watching wolves destroy the past 75 to 100 years of wildlife restoration. The very area you visited in the Blackfoot River and Clearwater River drainages has seen elk populations plummet by 80+ percent, deer numbers cut in half, and moose nearly wiped out by wolves that USFWS wrongly dumped into western Montana, most of Idaho, and northwestern Wyoming.

Those who have footed the bill for wildlife conservation in the Northern Rockies have a lot of questions, and I hope you are man enough to provide some very honest answers.

Probably the number one question plaguing the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Project has been, “Where did the funding for this fiasco come from?” I and many others have spent countless hours on the internet researching every aspect of this project, and we have not been able to find where Congress ever authorized such funding. One reasonably high ranking former USFWS staffer claims that the money was embezzled from the excise tax dollars that sportsmen pay on the purchases of firearms, ammunition, archery gear, fishing tackle and other similar outdoor products. He says the money was literally stolen from the Pittman-Robertson Funds that, by law, are to be used exclusively for funding wildlife habitat and fisheries improvement.

Several other former USFWS staffers have said the same thing. They’ve claimed that among the various illegal uses of the $45- to $65-million stolen from these funds, USFWS covered the costs of trapping wolves in Canada…used the money for transporting them into this country…for construction of elaborate holding compounds …and for covering the salaries of those USFWS employees assigned to work on this project.

If this is true, why isn’t former USFWS Director Jamie Rappaport Clark serving time behind bars? I’ve heard that she even used some of the stolen money to hand out bonuses to USFWS staffers, including herself.

Why did USFWS choose to transplant Canadian wolves (Canis lupus occidentalis) as replacement wolves for the native wolf (Canis lupus irremotus) of the Northern Rockies? Sure, we’ve heard the claims that ALL gray wolves are the same. Hogwash! There’s a reason why earlier taxonomists recognized 24 subspecies of wolves in North America – and that’s because they had different characteristics, different physical features, or different instinctive habits. For USFWS to simply lump ALL gray wolves together and claim they are ALL the same establishes a very dangerous precedence. What keeps them from doing the same thing with other species/subspecies? Using the same illogical logic, then the Sonoran pronghorn can easily be “unendangered” by simply trucking down a few thousand pronghorn from Wyoming. Likewise, the threatened Florida Keys deer can easily be saved by transplanting thousands of whitetails from Iowa or Illinois, where there’s an overabundance. So what if they’re a bit larger subspecies? That sure didn’t stop USFWS when it comes to wolves, now did it?

It’s extremely evident why USFWS took this route. First, the large number of wolves in Canada sure made their job easier when it came to sourcing wolves for the project. Secondly, it allowed overzealous USFWS “wolf experts” to greatly accelerate saturating the Northern Rockies with the aggressive apex predators. The manner in which the agency manipulated science, and replaced one subspecies with another, is a violation of the Endangered Species Act itself.

The residents of the affected region are extremely suspect of the real number of Canadian wolves transplanted where they never ever inhabited before. Was Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Project coordinator Ed Bangs given carte blanche power with this project? Try as hard as one may, the mandatory USFWS Form No. 3-177 that is to be completed and filed for every wildlife shipment into the U.S. cannot be found for the wolves flown in from Canada. Without those forms, there is no verification of the number of wolves imported…where they all came from…the subspecies of the wolves…or the cost of the shipments. In other words, there’s no paper trail.

Who qualified the “wolf experts” chosen to compile the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Plan, and to compile the 1994 Environmental Impact Statement for this project that was submitted by USFWS? I personally have spent hundreds of hours mulling through these two official documents, and one thing is very, very clear. And that is what the so-called “experts” claimed, predicted, forecasted, and stated as “fact” was far from the wolf impact we are now realizing. When the time is taken to compare what was outlined in those two Wolf Recovery Project documents to what has happened and continues to happen, it’s easy to see that those experts missed by a country mile. Likewise, those experts failed to address a number of other negative issues wolves bring to an ecosystem. Their plan and their EIS were far from complete – or correct.

Was this an oversight on their part? Could it be that they were not qualified for assessing the impact wolves would have on the Northern Rockies? Or, were these documents just more of the lies, deceit and secrecy surrounding the introduction of non-native wolves here? Has USFWS turned against the sportsmen of this country, and now sides with the radical environmental groups?

There are still far too many unanswered questions surrounding the idiocy of allowing wolves to destroy what took nearly a century to rebuild. This is a building firestorm that has already ruined any trust that sportsmen have in USFWS. As we near the 2012 elections, things are sure to erupt.

Toby Bridges


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11 thoughts on “An Open Letter To Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior

  1. It is time we get the facts from local people and local biologists, not biologists from the East coast or elsewhere who do not live in the area. I am glad you have written this letter. Especially salient is the example of the endangered Sonoran Pronghorn. The wolf “re-introduction” follows that logic exactly with the Canadian Wolves.
    Additionally, there are reliable reports from prior to the introduction of the Canadian Wolves, that there still remained some of the native wolf (Canis lupus irremotus). Thus, their backwards thinking has now obliterated any chance of the native wolf making a comeback.

    • Thanks Lesley and Laura…

      There’s far, far more wrong with the Wolf Recovery Project than there is right about it. There are also a lot of unanswered questions. Now that the 2011 hunting seasons are begining to wind down, I’ll be jumpring back into these issues. As we head into 2012, and closer to the November elections, we have to weed out those politicians who have fought taking control of the wolf problem.

      I promise you, things will really begin to heat up…and get even more interesting.


      • Lesley…

        I don’t have a clue where your comment went to.


      • Josh Davis on said:

        Back in the late 80’s the IDFG and the USFS had a big campaign to close the South Fork Of The Salmon River Road in Central Idaho because there was wolves in the area. This was headed by former IDFG employee Jerry Lockhart who now lives in Idaho County. There were natives wolves there and I seen four in the summer of 92. During their attempt to close the road, many locals got together and formed a group called “Don’t close the South Fork Road”. They ended up winning. I don’t know if you know this info or not but I also have more information about our native wolf species in Central Idaho.

      • Josh, always looking for new info and data…for the past three years, I have probably spent more time researching every aspect of this fiasco than anyone else. I’ve conversed with dozens of people who knew of a small pocket of native wolves before the complete saturation of non-native Canadian wolves by USFWS. That agency did one hell of a poor job of studying exisiting native wolves before dumping their invasive subspecies here. In short, USFWS violated the Endangered Species Act…that’s about like hiring a coyote to watch over the lambs. If you have anything you’d like to send me, please send it to lobowatch1@gmail.com .

  2. Bill Meeker on said:

    Good letter but don’t hold your breath awaiting a reply. I wrote five letters to Secretary Salazar in an attempt to inform him of documented corruption in FWS but he wasn’t interested.
    On your questions asking of legal actions taken against FWS officials for Pittman-Robertson and other regulation violations, let me explain the system used by Interior. The office in DOJ responsible for prosecuting violations of wildlife law is handled by the Environmental and Natural Resources Division. They will indeed aggressively prosecute violators, but ONLY if referred by Interior. In summary, regardless of whether or not you personally document a violation, DOJ will not take the case unless Interior “refers” it to them for action. The policy is that if the violator is a citizen, it gets referred and prosecuted; if the violator is an official within Interior, it doesn’t. Everybody in Interior knows this and that’s why we see open and bold actions in violation of their own regulations taken by FWS officials and others in Interior.
    You are correct that the wolves were required by regulation to have 3-177s and CITES permits accompanying them on import but if they didn’t, again, what chance is there that FWS officials will refer other FWS officials for prosecution? By the way, it IS the International Office (CITES) of FWS that I attempted to inform the Secretary about.
    Your question in the second to last paragraph asking if FWS has turned against the country’s sportsmen … the answer is YES, at least for the FWS Region including Montana.
    There is also a Congressional Committee on Natural Resources responsible for oversight of FWS. The Committee Chairman is Congressman Doc Hastings (R) from Washington State and you would think he could help you out but unless you’re from his district in SW Washington, you’re out of luck. If you contact any of these “national” committees, unless you’re from the state district of the contacted Member, they blow you off. Been there.
    You have many great points and questions and the sportsmen of the country support you. Good luck!
    Bill Meeker
    El Paso, TX

    • Thanks Bill for the great comment. While this letter may have been written TO Secretary Salazar, it was not necessarily written FOR him. It was basically written to lay out some of the basic wildlife conservation ethics and laws that were violated by USFWS, and thus DOI as well. The more we expose the illegality of the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Project. the more American citizens may begin to understand how these government agencies have sold us out. Now is the time for the citizens of this country to hold our elected officials’ feet to the fire…as we head into the 2012 election year.

      Toby Bridges,

  3. Mike Conn Clarksfork Idaho on said:

    Toby, These wolves are a problem but can be dealt with, however I and others I`ve spoken with believe wolves are merely a diversion created by the bigger more dangerous wolves in D.C. Think about it, once the game is gone who needs a gun? Many hunters will simply give up hunting, and their weapons! This is just another, albeit devious attempt to go after our guns by the left!
    As far as holding there feet to the fire, hell just throw the whole damn carcass in!!! S.S.S.

    • Mike, the enviros are right about one thing…while all wolves are NOT the same species/subspecies….ALL WOLVES ARE WOLVES. Once their numbers reach a certain point, controlling them becomes increasingly more difficult. And when the ONLY control mechanisms are sport hunting and trapping, chances are wolf numbers cannot be controlled. We got their numbers under control in the early 1900s by shooting on sight, 7/24/365 a year…and using poison. In Russia, the only way they could keep numbers in check, since the end of WWII, was to employ aerial gunning from helicopters. Also, you are absolutely right about the true intention of allowing wolves to destroy our big game resources. No game…no hunting…no need for “sportsmen” to own firearms. The really big part of this horrible never ending story is its tie to the Wildlands Network/Agenda 21…to force Americans off the land and out of rural areas and into the cities. If anyone reding doesn’t believe it…they’ve not taken the time to do the research. It’s a real threat…and the radical enviro greenies are pushng things in that direction. It’s time to stand up and fight back.

  4. William on said:

    Hi Toby,
    Ken Salazar and American Sportsmen need to read the many comments on the Lobowatch and the Eastmen outdoors site. Along with Toby’s many articles, Guy Eastmen also has written an article (The preditor death spiral) that Mr Salazar needs to read. There were over 150 comments on the Eastman site from all over the USA
    Mr Salazar,this is not just a three state disaster. Wolves are showing up everywhere in America.
    Angry does not even describe how I feel after hunting every day of the Montana big game season. All the favorite areas that I have hunted for the last 50 years were void of deer and elk. This is the first year since I was eleven years old that I was unable to fill my elk tag. I live in what was once one of the best hunting areas in Montana. The Blackfoot Valley near Lincoln Montana was thriving with elk and deer herds and all was well here until Non native, Canadian wolves moved in.
    Wolves have caused what will be known as the worst wildlife disaster in American history.
    Mr Salazar you and your cronies had better wake up .America’s Sportsmen have had it with Non Native Canadian Wolves and folks like you that are burying your head in the sand.

    • Thanks Bill;

      I’m sure you speak for the vast majority of sportsmen in western Montana and most of Idaho. USFWS has been infiltrated by radical environmental types and folks who are downright criminals. Many need to be kicked square in the ass and thrown out…some (especially a few who have flown the coop) need to be kicked square in the ass and right into a prison cell. I’m sure we could also flush out a few guilty accomplices who have worked with MT Fish, Wildlife and Parks or with Idaho Department of Fish and Game…along with a few key politicians…who also played an integral part in this destruction of wildlife resources.

      There will be justice in the end.

      Toby Bridges,

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