Regional Debate Over Wolves Continues as Historic Sanctuary Opens Doors to Growing Curiosity

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Home to the last remaining Sawtooth Pack: Wolves of the Nez Perce member, the Wolf Education & Research Center opens doors for 17th season with a momentum of interest.

Wolf Center Opens Memorial Day Weekend

The Sawtooth Pack: Wolves of the Nez Perce are perhaps the most well known wolves in the world. Piyip, now 17, is the last remaining pack member.

It starts with Memorial Day and the drive to recreate tailgates right up to Labor Day each tourism season. May is a month when the Idaho roads begin filling up with weekend warriors, caravaning campers, and the local commentary that there are too few passing lanes as RV's lead long parades across the region.

Along this annual migration route is a town called Winchester where there's an enormous rifle hanging above the main street. There's a lake named after the town. And there's a lodge named after the lake. Just outside of town, there's also a special place in the woods that requires locals to stock up on supplies. For 17 years, it has been known as the Wolf Education and Research Center (WERC) where five wolves entice travelers off the beaten path. Three hundred acres. Five wolves. Four interns and one world class biologist.

WERC celebrates its 17th season and boasts Piyip (pronounced PEE-YIP) one of America's oldest living captive wolves, as old as the organization. Piyip, "Little Brother" in Nez Perce, is a wolf with a rich heritage. The Sawtooth Pack: Wolves of the Nez Perce, made world-famous in the 90's by the Jim Dutcher films "Living with Wolves", have been attracting visitors for nearly two decades.

Guests will hike miles of trails, take breaks under Idaho's native trees, and walk across a meadow to viewing platforms where they can catch visions of wolves--the Owyhee Pack, named for the SW Idaho County they were rescued from in 2008.

WERC's heart is in education, hinging on the notion that predators play an essential role in the restoration of Idaho's natural landscape. As humans and industry continue intersecting with wilderness, WERC endeavors to dialog with the public about essential attitudes regarding a future of stewardship of resources, including wolves.

WERC will host a two day Summer Celebration on June 7 & 8 with presentations from WSU Raptor Club, Snowdon Wildlife Sanctuary, Suzanne Stone from Defenders of Wildlife and prominent authors, Gail S. McDiarmid and Marilyn S. McGee.

Whether you're a avid hunter, a fan of wolves or simply a curious traveler, WERC is worth the addition to your GPS' destinations. For more information about the Wolf Education & Research Center and to make a reservation, visit their website at

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