Preparing for the Return of Gray Wolves to Mt Hood

OR-25To hear the powerful howl of a wolf on Mount Hood is an event that many will diagnose as a sign of an ecosystem in true recovery. Many will also be chastised by the reappearance of a species unmatched in resilience and in it it’s long, intimate history with humanity, where subjugation and destruction have defined our role. Places like Wolf Camp Butte, Black Wolf Meadows, and Wolf Peak tell us that wolves have been part of the identity of Mt. Hood even in their absence.

Last year, wolf tracks were confirmed by wildlife agencies in the White River area of Mt. Hood National Forest for the first time in over fifty years. Scientists speculated that the wolf may have been traveling through, as no sightings or collar signals were documented. Early in 2015 OR-25, a lone 2-year old male wolf was confirmed roaming throughout the national forest and Warm Springs reservation. Wolves in Oregon are traveling hundreds of miles in search of new habitat that could support their return. Bark is humbled to have them trying out the forests we love. These wolves, seeking their rightful place in the landscape, represent why we fight to keep these forests standing.

The presence of dispersing wolves in the north Cascades begs the question - Is there suitable habitat to sustain a wolf population on Mt. Hood? With more than 4,000 miles of roads and logging occurring in thousands of acres of wildland every year, a paradigm shift will be necessary to keep wolves around.

OR-7The Forest Service’s outdated and politically girdled management plan fails to achieve ecological restoration, endangered species protection, watershed stability, or habitat recovery, instead prioritizing commercial logging.

Mt. Hood’s eco-tourism industry has an enormous opportunity, but it needs a partner in the U.S. Forest Service. Will it manage for people and wildlife? Or will it continue to manage for timber production?

The pending ODFW decision (November 9th, 2015) on whether to retain Endangered Species protections for wolves in Oregon and the upcoming revisions to the state's Wolf Conservation Management Plan and public lands management decisions present huge challenges as well as opportunities for the future of these animals. Sign up here to recieve notifications from ODFW about wolf sightings, policy, and public engagement opportunitites!

Contact us at (503) 331-0374 to get involved!

Project Status: 
Habitat & Species
Habitat & Species: 

Kingdom:Animalia Phylum:Chordata Class:Mammalia Order:Carnivora Family:Canidae Subfamily:Caninae Tribe:Canini Genus:Canis Species:C. lupus

From 1900–1930, the gray wolf was virtually eliminated from the western USA and adjoining parts of Canada, because of intensive predator control programs aimed at eradicating the species.

Height: 26-32 inches at the shoulder
Length: 4.5-6.5 feet from nose to tail-tip
Weight: 55-130 lbs; Males are typically heavier and taller than the females.
Lifespan: 7-8 years in the wild. 12 years or more in remote or protected areas.
Mating Season: January or February.
Gestation: 63 days
Litter size: 4-7 pups

{Credit Defenders of Wildlife}

Bark Comments: 

Wolves play a key role in keeping ecosystems healthy. They help keep deer and elk populations in check, which can benefit many other plant and animal species. The carcasses of their prey also help to redistribute nutrients and provide food for other wildlife species, like grizzly bears and scavengers. Scientists are just beginning to fully understand the positive ripple effects that wolves have on ecosystems.

Wolves eat ungulates, or large hoofed mammals, like elk, deer, moose and caribou, as well as beaver, rabbits and other small prey. Wolves are also scavengers and often eat animals that have died due to other causes.


Protection Status:

Endangered Species Act (Federal)

Alaska: Gray wolves are not listed as endangered in Alaska
Northern Rockies: Gray wolves in Idaho, Montana, and parts of Washington, Oregon and Utah were stripped of Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection in an unprecedented act by Congress in 2011. Gray wolves were delisted from the ESA by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in Wyoming in 2012.
Great Lakes: Gray wolves are not listed as endangered in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Gray wolves are listed as endangered west of hiways 385, 78, and 95 in Oregon.

Gray wolves are considered endangered in any other part of the continental United States.

Endangered Species Act (Oregon)

Gray wolves are protected by the Oregon Endangered Species act througout the state as of November 1, 2015. Though this listing is currently being challenged by ODFW.

Oregon Wolf Conservation Management Plan