Wolves of the North Fork Valley
Instructor: Dr. Diane Boyd, Ph.D.
May 29 at 7 a.m.
This course will focus on the recovery and current status of wolves in Glacier National Park and the Northern Rocky Mountains. Since human behavior plays such an integral role in wolf recovery efforts, current wolf politics and western attitudes towards the wolf will be discussed and reviewed. We will spend time looking at and taking short hikes into wolf country on the west side of the Park. By the end of the course you will have a basic knowledge of wolf life history and characteristics, wolf ecology, an introduction to wolf research techniques, and an understanding of the complex politics surrounding wolf recovery in the area and globally. Because of their secretive nature, it is unlikely that we will actually see or hear wolves on our field trip, although we are likely to find evidence of their activities.
Meeting Place: Glacier Institute Field Camp.
Itinerary: (subject to change due to weather and trail closures) After a brief introduction to each other and to the class, we will discuss basic wolf life-history data. We will look at a presentation on biological specimens, and discuss wolf ecology, history, and politics. We will head out in the Glacier Institute van, into traditional wolf habitat along the nearby Inside North Fork Road in Glacier National Park, looking for clues of recent wolf activity, while further discussing wolf recovery and management of native and reintroduced populations. We will spend the entire day in the North Fork area of Glacier National Park where we’ll learn about the history and current status of the wolf packs that have resided here. Lunch will be in the field. We will observe and discuss other wildlife species along the way, and we may find wolf tracks and scats. The course will end by 4 p.m. and will not be cancelled due to weather.
Food: Please bring a trail lunch, plenty of water, and snacks for the day.
Park Entrance Fees: Participants are responsible for purchasing their park entry passes prior to the course. These can be purchased online at: https://www.recreation.gov/sitepass/74280.
Equipment: You will receive a Field Camp gear list once you register. Most importantly are comfortable hiking shoes, at least 1-2 liter water bottle, backpack, rain gear, hat, and sunscreen. Weather can be varied so please be prepared with appropriate clothing, and warm layers. Binoculars and spotting scopes are not required but may be beneficial in spotting wildlife.
Physical Requirements: Moderate difficulty; on-trail or off-trail hikes up to 3 miles and/or 800 feet of elevation change.
Academic Credit: Please see our ‘2021 Academic Credit’ link on our website to learn about OPI credits for our courses.