KETTLE FALLS — Rural legislators from both parties got a closer look last week at Washington’s wolf country.

State Rep. Joel Kretz, R-Wauconda, brought members of the House Rural Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee to his district, to tour widfire-affected areas and meet with ranchers whose livelihoods have been affected by roaming wolf packs.

Kretz and others in northeast Washington have been critical of state wolf practices, and the committee heard from local ranchers in a Danville town meeting. Last week, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife authorized the destruction of a wolf pack believed responsible for killing a cow in Ferry County.

Kretz’s fellow Republican Rep. Tom Dent of Moses Lake was among those on the junket, as well as Democrats from Kirkland, Port Angeles, Bow and elsewhere. The committee’s chairman, Democrat Brian Blake of Aberdeen, was sympathetic to ranchers. “As a state, we’ve got to do better by these communities,” he said. “We need to be thinking out of the box in order to keep our producers whole and ensure these multigenerational ranchers have a chance at staying in business.”

Jefferson Robbins: 679-7013

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