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Wolves bring tourists, and money, to Montana

2013-06-30T00:00:00Z 2013-07-01T14:33:05Z Wolves bring tourists, and money, to Montana The Billings Gazette
June 30, 2013 12:00 am

I have just returned from a six-day visit to your lovely state. Excluding airfare, I spent a total of $2,150 for food, lodging, guides, rental car, fuel, clothing and entrance fees for various exhibits. This was an impromptu visit, without my family, for the single purpose of seeing wolves in the wild. I wanted to see wolves before they are gone.

Will I return to Montana with friends and family? That depends on you, Montana. Will there be wolves in your future?

You see, I'm part of a growing trend of what we call wildlife watchers. There are literally hundreds of thousands of us. We are well-educated, well-informed urbanites with expendable incomes and four to six weeks of vacation, where we long to disengage ourselves from our place of work and seek refuge in the natural world. A portion of us are retired, with expendable incomes to visit your state for extended periods and who delight in watching wild America unfold before our eyes. We are your future, Montana.

What are we seeking? Along with countless birds, we seek the big five: wolves, bears, bison, moose and elk.

It is the wolf that brings us (and our money) back to your state year after year. Like the migrating herds, many of us will return year after year to seek out our favorite wolf packs, to watch them grow, play, hunt, mate and to see their offspring flourish under their guidance. And with our return, we dump millions of dollars into your state, year after year.

To us wildlife watchers, the absence of the wolf is the deal breaker. Viewing a wolf and its family, then knowing those wolves will be hunted and likely killed next winter is a deal breaker.

Your call, Montana.

Susan Turnipseed

The Villages, Fla.

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