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WALLOWA COUNTY – Wally Sykes and Rob Klavins thought if anyplace in Oregon would be a safe haven for wolves, it’d be this clearing deep inside the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. Instead, Wallowa County’s foremost wolf supporters felt like they were standing in a cow pasture. The dry creek bed, amid cow pies and their associated aromas, seemed out of place within the 2.3 million-acre forest that encircles Enterprise and Joseph in the rough shape of a backward C. Remnants of a cow skeleton gleamed white nearby. “It should be a meandering crick,” Sykes said of the area that feeds Marr Creek before running north into Big Sheep Creek, the Imnaha River and the mighty Snake.For decades, ranchers have used the rugged area in northeastern Oregon to turn out cattle for grazing from spring to fall. Until recently, cows – and their owners — didn’t have to contend with one of nature’s apex predators – the gray wolf.

Source: Wallowa County: Dead wolves, cattle and the open range |