By Jeff Todd
LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) — After dealing with wildfires, flooding, and a challenging location for its goals, the W.O.L.F. Sanctuary in Larimer County is hoping to move locations.
“Not being able to bring in our supporters to show them what they’re helping us with in our mission. And not being able to bring people here for our education efforts is challenging,” said Shelley Coldiron, the Executive Director of the W.O.L.F. Sanctuary.
Coldiron says she realized the facility needed to move during the High Park Fire in 2012. Since then mother nature has continued to provide challenges to the current facility in Rist Canyon northwest of Fort Collins.
“We’re off the grid, we only run a generator for a few hours a day. We don’t have flushing toilets or anything like that,” Coldiron said. “Our reward is when you see these downtrodden spirits come in and you watch them come through and bubble and their personalities come through.”
It’s estimated 200,000 wolf-dog hybrids are bred each year. Within a few years 95 percent are euthanized. W.O.L.F. and other organizations provide a place for the animals to live out the rest of their lives in native-like enclosures. With an increasing need for rescue and rehabilitation, W.O.L.F. would like to expand it’s services.
Coldiron started looking for new locations, and found a plot of land near Red Feather Lakes, high in the foothills of Larimer County. She envisioned 60 enclosures for pairs of animals but the county felt that was too many.
The Larimer County Planning Commission split on the W.O.L.F. Sanctuary plan to move 4-4, but it still moved forward to the county commissioners, who narrowly approved the plan in early December. Neighbors in nearby Red Feather Lakes and Glacier View Meadows were opposed. Many saying they were concerned for wildlife, noise from howling wolves, or even a wolf escaping the sanctuary (for more on the opposition http://www.quietmountains.org/) . The County said there could only be 30 enclosures and public visiting had to be limited to only two tours each day.
W.O.L.F. is estimating it need another $400,000 to $500,000 to build the 30 enclosures from nearly four miles of fencing, and visitor center. It’s fundraising to try and gather enough money to finish the move by 2019.
“One of the things we really want to have a great impact on is education and we want to have kids involved,” Coldiron said. “I think once we’re here for a while people will hardly notice we’re here.”
For more information or to donate to the sanctuary http://wolfsanctuary.co/
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.