Devil’s Gate Ranch is a different kind of ranch in California encompassing Orr Mountain where it is believed Wolf OR-7 crossed on his way back to the border with Oregon, owned by Loch Jones and Sara Rose-Jones, whose history with the land stretches back many generations.. Today they are exploring how to support both cattle and wildlife on their ranch.
Loch found us via our website and generously offered us a much-needed place to shower when we passed by. It turned out that this coincided with an opportunity to meet with members of the Pacific Wolf Coalition – a coalition of some thirty plus organizations working on wolf recovery in the Pacific Northwest.
I was inspired by the work being done by these groups who have spent decades addressing concerns about wolf recovery and working closely with biologists, ranchers and farmers who are living with first-hand experience of wolves. Working towards effective non-lethal solutions in managing carnivores such as wolves is an on-going task that requires patience, creative innovation and research.
Loch and Sara were willing to learn from this experienced collective as to what they can do as ranchers and wildlife enthusiasts to work towards coexistence with wolves through effective management. Through collaborative learning and the courage to try new things, coexistence is not only possible but in some instances even desirable.
One of the quotes shared by the Pacific Wolf Coalition around the question of wolf habitat in the region highlighted the point that wolves can only find their place in the greater ecosystem if we let them: “The best habitat for wolves resides in the human heart.” – Ed Bangs.
The Pacific Wolf Coalition is a group that came together in the wake of OR-7’s journey in 2011, another one of the many initiatives that have spawned from his adventure south. The Pacific Wolf Coalition itself has ignited other wolf coalitions to form in other parts of the USA, which I found inspiring.
Devil’s Gate Ranch and the Pacific Wolf Coalition are examples of ranchers and conservationists working towards a new story for wildlife and wolves in the Pacific Northwest, one that is grounded in the willingness to explore coexistence with carnivores in a landscape that can still accommodate them.
– A huge thanks to our hosts Loch and Sara, who not only put us up for the night and hosted the venue for us to meet the Pacific Wolf Coalition, but also entertained us with stories and the most delicious homemade chocolate mouse, ever!
Image: Members of the Pacific Wolf Coalition and hosts Loch and Sara with the team.