The month of March saw two big federal proposals in regard to management of Wisconsin’s gray wolves, a rule that would delist wolves in the lower 48 states and congressional legislation that would delist wolves in just Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan and Wyoming.

The proposed rule involving all 48 states came from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the direction of Acting Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. The bipartisan legislation was introduced by U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and two senators from Wyoming.

We are opposed to the countrywide delisting plan from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service because it comes with no new data or reasoning, and will again spark a legal battle that ends with some sympathetic federal judge blocking the decision. That has already happened four times, the last in 2014, and there’s no reason to believe it won’t happen again.

Besides the lack of new reasoning, federal wildlife experts are suddenly lumping all 48 states into the delisting proposal including dozens that have done absolutely nothing to recover a wolf population or set up a management plan.

Why should the Endangered Species Act not provide federal protection for gray wolves in states that aren’t working to reintroduce them? Those states have no independent record of wolf management expertise that would make them trustworthy managers.

On the other hand, we support the bipartisan legislation that would delist the gray wolf in the western Great Lakes States and Wyoming, for these four states have proven wolf management expertise and a viable management plan for long-term sustainability of wolf numbers.

It is time that federal and state wildlife experts be allowed to manage wolves in the four states that want them without interference from partisan federal judges. These states should be rewarded for their efforts to cultivate and sustain a wolf population that 90% of the states do not want.

Once knocked back to 650 animals through three public harvest seasons, Wisconsin’s wolf population is again nearing 950 animals — nearly triple the current Wolf Management Plan goal of 350 wolves.

Senators Johnson and Baldwin are correct that gray wolves have recovered in these four states and that the states are deserving and capable of accepting management authority.

Silver Blades to shine 

The Eagle River Figure Skating Club will stage its 62nd annual Silver Blades Ice Show this Saturday and Sunday, an event that culminates months of practice and competition.

Dozens of youth skaters ages 4 to 18 will entertain the Eagle River Sports Arena crowds in group and solo performances. In addition, guest skater Lainie Kuckkahn will perform in both shows, slated for 1 p.m. each day.

We encourage North Woods residents to experience the heritage and tradition of a figure skating show that’s been around for more than six decades.

Behind the editorial ‘we’

Members of the Vilas County News-Review editorial board include Publisher Kurt Krueger, Editor Gary Ridderbusch and Assistant Editor Michelle Drew.