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Zack Strong’s Blog

MT FWP Commission Votes 5-0 to Move Forward with Wolf Conservation Stamp!

Zack Strong

Posted May 23, 2014

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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.

Wolf photo

(Wolf photo by Will on Flickr)

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Comments

Steven ClevidenceMay 26 2014 12:16 AM

First of all, I congratulate Zack on his hard work in making something many of us have talked about for a long time, a reality. Secondly, I like many, will support the stamp until MFWP starts using the revenue raised by the stamp inappropriately and against the wishes of the non-consumptive user. The chair of the commission stated several times, that the stamp guarantees the non-consumptive user nothing. In other words, there is no guarantee to a seat on the table or a voice in wolf polices now or future. I remain hopeful but extremely guarded. The distribution of funds raised from this stamp should be transparent and open for public scrutiny. From past experience with this department and mandates from the state Legislation, only time will tell if it will benefit wolves and wildlife, or be just another source of income to be used at the whim of MFW&P.
~ Steve Clevidence, Mt Regional Representative and board member for Living with Wolves.org

Sharona GilbertMay 26 2014 12:48 PM

Thank you so much Zack! I have been hoping for something like this for years now. I am sure it will be a bumpy start but I bet when hunters first were mandated to buy licenses and pay fees it was not a bed of roses either but now they are a very powerful group. It may take time to get there but if we don't start someplace we will never know!

Christine OliverMay 26 2014 08:32 PM

I am looking forward to being able to support this directly when the stamps become available! This is such an exciting development!

Jerre PerryMay 30 2014 01:23 PM

I want this stamp!

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