As I wrote earlier this week, we were thrilled when Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) announced that it would be formally proposing the Wolf Conservation Stamp at yesterday’s FWP Commission hearing. We were even more excited when, after considering public comment, the Commission unanimously voted in favor of the proposal and directed the FWP Department to begin the rule making process to create the stamp and more specifically explain the ways in which the revenue generated will be spent.
Public support for the stamp during yesterday’s hearing was incredible. Thanks to all of those who attended and spoke in favor of the proposal – including representatives from Wolves of the Rockies, Living with Wolves, Endangered Species Coalition, Defenders of Wildlife and the Montana Wildlife Federation. In fact, not a single person spoke in opposition to the stamp. Instead, public testimony focused on how refreshing it was to be considering a collaborative proposal designed to benefit wolves, wildlife enthusiasts, hunters and ranchers alike. It was a privilege to have had the opportunity to assist with developing this proposal over the last few months, and extremely rewarding to observe such a positive reception to the idea yesterday.
While support for the stamp has been overwhelming, a few have expressed concern that this is a “trick” and that they distrust FWP and wildlife management in Montana. I appreciate these concerns. Please keep in mind a couple things. First, this is no hoax. It is simply new. And it is something that I, as a wildlife advocate, stand behind and believe is an extremely positive proposal which provides, for the first time, an opportunity for wolf and wildlife enthusiasts to directly contribute to conservation and sound management in Montana.
Second, this would be an entirely voluntary program. If and when the time comes that Wolf Conservation Stamps are available for purchase, and you still have concerns about this idea, you don’t have to buy one! But I am encouraged by the many (many!) who have already expressed interest in purchasing a stamp and giving this program a chance. And I believe FWP is dedicated to making this a success—for people, for wolves, and for a chance to lead the nation in showing that collaboration among diverse interests is beneficial, and essential, for responsible wildlife management.
Again, please help us spread the word, and thanks as always for your thoughtful comments, questions, and support.