MARQUETTE - The committee to Keep Michigan Wolves Protected will be holding an event Saturday in Houghton. A petition-signing is set for 1 p.m. at the Portage Lake District Library.
On January 14, the ballot committee launched a referendum campaign against PA 520. The act made the Gray Wolf a game species, and took effect December 27th, 2012. 225,00 signatures are being sought out before a due date of March 27th, 2013.
Recent news articles have quoted Mich. DNR officials who claim that the referendum is "premature and ill-advised."
"The fact is, we have 90 days from when a bill is signed by the Governor, to gather the necessary signatures to place this issue on the 2014 ballot," says Adam Robarge UPALD founder. "The referendum process is most certainly moving forward."
Officials are also saying that a wolf hunt is not imminent, merely being discussed as an option. "Every state however, has swiftly followed de-listing of the Gray Wolf with a public hunt, including our Minnesota and Wisconsin neighbors," says Robarge. "Signing this petition will ensure protection against such a hunt until at least 2014. During that time, scientific data can be gathered from Minnesota and Wisconsin in an attempt to answer the concerns of those advocating for a wolf hunt. Did acts of depredation on livestock and domestic animals actually decrease substantially in areas where a hunt took place? Did instances of wolves visiting urban areas decrease? Is there a scientific correlation between the two that Michigan officials can actually use in the decision making process? Right now that type of data is just not available."
The event in Houghton will serve as an opportunity for local residents to sign the petition and learn a bit more about the wolves we share this landscape with.
UPALD is seeking to hold similar events throughout the Upper Peninsula, in an effort to include residents in the referendum process.
"The U.P. is truly the battleground over the issue. This is where the wolves reside. This is where a hunt would take place," said Robarge.
The event will begin with a presentation by Great Lakes Regional Director of The National Wolfwatchers Alliance, Nancy Warren. The presentation is entitled "Coexisting With Wolves." Following the presentation, registered Michigan voters can sign the petition and also obtain information about circulating petitions themselves. UP coordinators for the committee Nancy Warren and Adam Robarge will be on hand.