Friday, August 12, 2011

Wolves of the Pacific Northwest

Contact David at to support his project! 

A unique and fascinating story is waiting to be told about one of the world’s most intriguing animals and its place in the diverse and striking landscapes of the Pacific Northwest; from wild coastlines and rainforests to remote mountain ranges and inhospitable deserts.
  • How do wolves survive in a temperate rainforest and how is this different from their behavior and ecology in the harsh high deserts east of the Cascades and BC Coast Range?
  • What have been the impacts of over a century of wolf extirpation from Western Washington and Oregon?
  • What are the prospects and ecological significance of their recovery across Oregon, Washington and Northern California?
  • What is the cultural significance of this iconic predator for indigenous peoples of the region and for modern western culture in the Northwest?
Answers questions such as these, and inspiring appreciation and conservation of our region’s wildlife and wildlands are at the heart of Wolves of the Pacific Northwest, a book I have a contract to write and photograph (Timber Press, Portland, Oregon). Lyrically written and strikingly photographed, while also academically rigorous and original, this book is designed for a broad audience. 

The wolf is an icon of the wild, and a critical element of many of the ecosystems it inhabits. The story of wolves living in the Pacific Northwest is unique and provides a new lens to explore the ecology of a well known species, one often associated with the wide open tundra or vast grasslands rather than dense old growth forests, wild coastlines, mountainous landscapes, or deserts. As wolves become an increasingly conspicuous element in wildlands of our region and capture headlines in the news, people’s interest and curiosity about this regal symbol of the wild will also grow.
The re-establishment of wolves is now underway in the southern Pacific Northwest, making this project both a timely and time-sensitive one. With state and federal managers actively working on preparing for a rapid increase in the numbers and associated issues of wolves in the region, interest from the general public will only be growing in the near future.

On the wild Central Coast of British Columbia, one the most inaccessible parts of the region, wolves face challenges from increases in industrial resource extraction and declining salmon runs. Vancouver Island, where wolves were once extirpated but naturally re-established themselves has been at the forefront of challenges between wolves and recreation wilderness users, an issue which will also likely be prominent in Washington and Oregon.

There are few single elements of the natural world more compelling to the human psyche then wolves. Across the globe, and throughout time, wolves have captured the imaginations of humans. Here in the Pacific Northwest, both their recent absence and now reestablishment have brought into sharp focus the interest in this charismatic apex carnivore.
Along with the production of a book, photographs, articles, and presentations from this project will be used to promote awareness and conservation regionally through collaborations with educational and conservation organizations including Conservation Northwest (www.conservationnw.orgWilderness Awareness School (, and Wildlands Network ( .

Pulling together the multitude of parts of this complex story will involve extensive literature research, interviews with experts in the field and expeditions across the region to places where wolves have maintained healthy populations, areas where reestablishment of populations in now occurring, and locations were wolf extirpation has had significant impacts on the regional ecology.
All of the writings and other media produced for this project will draw on the latest research findings on wolves and my own first hand encounters in the field with wolves and their environment. Field research and photography expeditions will be carried out via kayak, ski, backpacking and boat trips.

 The support of numerous individuals, along with grant funding I am seeking from foundations, and in kind donations, has helped secure equipment needed for field work and photography, defray travel costs, and help underwrite other research and cost of living expenses as I've started this project. However, with many field trips ahead to complete the main manuscript for this project and plan public outreach events I am still actively seeking funding.

If you are interested in supporting this project please send me an email at