Lone Wolf Chasing Snowmobilers Closes Trails in Voyageurs National Park

A lone wolf is on the prowl in Voyageurs National Park

A lone wolf is on the prowl in Voyageurs National Park

A lone wolf is chasing snowmobilers on trails near the Minnesota-Canadian border, causing sections of two different trails to be closed and rerouted.

Yesterday Voyageurs National Park Superintendent Mike Ward announced the closures as a precaution "for the protection of the visitors and the wolf," after the wolf followed snowmobiles at least three different times in the same area during the last 10 days. See also: Wolves Thriving Up North, But Does That Mean It's Time to Stop Protecting Them?

The wolf population up north is thriving right now, much to the dismay of some dog and livestock owners.

"It seems like they're encroaching now more than ever," Cook County News Herald reporter and Grand Marais resident Brian Larsen told City Pages last month. "They've become quite a pest in town for people who own dogs."

On December 14 last year it became illegal to kill wolves except in defense of a human life, and US Rep. John Kline just introduced a bill that would prohibit wolves from being listed on the Endangered Species Act in response to overpopulation concerns.

Park Superintendent Ward told the Star Tribune one snowmobiler "was nervous by the behavior; another group likened it to a dog that was being playful. But no one described the wolf as being aggressive."

Wolves usually don't approach humans.

"My guess is if the snowmobiler stopped and the guy got off of it, the wolf would turn around and run like the deuce," Minnesota wolf researcher Dave Mech told the Star Tribune.

Send news tips to Ben Johnson.