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Wolf Watching Tours Bring Profit for ID

April 10, 2009

Boise, ID – This Saturday, Idaho wolves will be making money for the state; people are paying to take a hiking tour in the Wood River Valley to see wolves in their natural habitat. Francie St. Onge, a backcountry guide leading the tour for the Western Wolf Coalition, says that with concerns about the outdoor tourism industry losing some business in the recession, it's surprising that this weekend's tour, and others, have booked so quickly. Those taking the tours learn about the role wolves play in the ecosystem.

St. Onge points out that wolves and elk, for example, evolved together.

"There are inter-relationships between them. The wolves, and the elk, and deer, and other species have been together for thousands of years."

St. Onge says while wolves can be controversial, the tours stick to the science of healthy habitats.

She is exploring the possibility that wolf-watching tours can be expanded to help diversify income for backcountry service providers. She points out that this is a great time of year to see the animals.

"We've been really lucky around here that the wolves have been particularly visible lately. I don't know how long that opportunity will last. We'll see."

The wolf-watching tours are organized by the Western Wolf Coalition and the Idaho Conservation League.

Saturday's tour is booked up; info on other tours is at wildidaho.org

Deb Courson, Public News Service - ID