Letter: Vote ‘no’ on Proposition 114

As a concerned Colorado voter, I was pleased to see Steamboat Pilot & Today’s recent opposition to the ballot initiative to forcibly introduce wolves into our state. Proposition 114 is a mandate, a way to implement policy while reducing the ability of local organizations to develop, fund and manage programs according to their needs. It deliberately ignores scientific research and conclusions by wildlife experts in Colorado, Yellowstone and Isle Royale. I ask my fellow readers to vote “no” on Proposition 114.  

The longest-running study on any wild animal, the wolves of Isle Royale, on its 50th year, the lead researcher made these points: the world is very complex, and grand conclusions about wolves become more tentative as one decade follows another due to unpredictable events that occur regularly, and scientists and politicians need a bit of humility because they don’t know as much as they thought about wolves, especially when they hope to manage for a specific outcome. They cannot put much stock in predictions.

At Yellowstone, they found creating a “balanced” environment was much more complex than adding wolves; they couldn’t maintain that balance nor create that balance on a park-wide scale. The constant has been the management of wolves is different if you are managing for preservation in a national park or for conservation on lands shared with people.

As it stands, Colorado would be required to manage for preservation not conservation. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission did the research four different times and concluded that wolf reintroduction was not appropriate for Colorado; however, they predicted and prepared for wolves coming naturally. Their foresight was proven in January. 

Proposition 114 is an unfunded mandate. That means those who are pushing this proposition are leaving it to the citizens of Colorado, present and future, to pay. Colorado is required to balance the budget in good years, recessions and pandemics. Which programs and service will have their budgets cut? Which will be cut from the budget completely to fund wolves?

As Election Day rapidly approaches and mail-in voting begins even sooner, I ask that we each take a moment to consider the long-term implications of how we mark our ballots. Proposition 114 seeks to turn what should be a natural process into a political one. I, for one, will be voting “no” on this unnecessary measure, and I hope my fellow Coloradans will do the same.

Jo Stanko
Steamboat Springs

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