DENVER (CBS4) – The fight over whether gray wolves should be reintroduced in Colorado will be decided by the voters. The Colorado Secretary of State’s office announced Monday that proponents had gathered enough signatures to get Initiative 107 — “Restoration of Gray Wolves” — on the 2020 General Election ballot.
The Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund was behind the campaign to get the issue on the ballot. In December, they delivered more than 200,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office to begin the process.
On Monday, the Secretary of State’s office confirmed it had received 215,370 signatures and conducted the random sample verification process. Based on the results of the sample, officials projected organizers had gathered more than the required number of valid signatures.
Advocates say having gray wolves back in Colorado could restore the state’s natural balance and believe it should be for the people to decide.
John Longhill is the executive director of the Blue River Horse Center north of Silverthorne and says he does have concerns about wolves killing livestock but thinks they should be brought back to Colorado.
“I am concerned of having another Apex predator again. There is a larger picture. The fact is wolves are coming to Colorado. Seventy percent of the people of Colorado want them, let’s do it the right way through legislation, mitigate livestock losses, create an awareness.”
Opponents say the decision should be made by experts with Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Terry Frankhauser with the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association says it’s a complex, biological decision that shouldn’t be political. The Colorado Farm Bureau and several counties have also come out against the proposal.
As it stands, the initiative specifies that reintroduction would happen on BLM land in western Colorado where it is more abundant and would include a fund to reimburse ranchers if livestock was killed.