By Kyle Harris
Lost Walks, a Denver supergroup formed to help save wolves from extinction, has toured Colorado for years, inspiring fans to fight for the often-maligned animals.
With a proposition to bring gray wolves back to the wild on the ballot, the band is making one last push for public support. At 7 p.m. tonight, Saturday, October 24, the musicians will gather at Mighty Fine Studios for a live-stream concert of their rock opera Wolf, Woman, Man. To connect the dramatic narrative to this political season, they will also host a conversation about how the rock opera relates to wolf conservation.
The band formed after a couple of the musicians visited the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center around six years ago, when they learned about the plight of the gray wolf. The animal, which once roamed North America by the millions, faced extinction after European settlers colonized the West and gunned them down. Once the wolves disappeared from Colorado — the last documented wolf here died in the 1940s — the elk population boomed, stressing out the forests, and the ecological consequences of the wolves’ absence rippled down the food chain. The grey wolves faced extinction. Then conservationists mobilized to save the predators; they’ve already been reintroducing in other Western states.
By 2017, Lost Walks was performing benefit shows for the Rocky Mountain Wolf Project. In the years that followed, the musicians volunteered with the Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund, one of the organizations behind Proposition 114, which would return the wolves to Colorado.
“We were some of many, many, many people and many organizations who helped gather signatures from summer into the fall,” bandmate Jen GaNun told Westword’s John Bear last year. In the process, they helped collect more than 200,000 signatures to put the issue on the ballot.
Many people they met along the way were enthusiastic, but the bandmates encountered plenty of resistance to the idea of reintroducing wolves to the wild.
“There is so much fear-based information,” GaNun said. “We’ve been told for generations that the wolf is a scary, evil animal that kills for fun and is out to get your children. We know these stories. [Wolves] are vilified in lots of stories, but there are cultures that are incredibly respectful of wolves.”
Will Colorado become one of those cultures? That’s for voters to decide.
The Lost Walks concert takes place live at 7 p.m., Saturday, October 24, on Youtube.