This critical edition explores the past and future of wolves in Colorado. Originally published in 1929, The Last Stand of the Pack is a historical account of the extermination of what were then believed to be the last wolves in Colorado. Arthur H. Carhart and Stanley P. Young describe the wolves’ extermination and extoll the bravery of the federal trappers hunting them down while simultaneously characterizing the wolves as cunning individuals and noble adversaries to the growth of the livestock industry and the settlement of the West. This is nature writing at its best, even if the worldview expressed is at times jarring to the twenty-first-century reader.
Now, almost 100 years later, much has been learned about ecology and the role of top-tier predators within ecosystems. In this new edition, Carhart and Young’s original text is accompanied by an extensive introduction with biographical details on Arthur Carhart and an overview of the history of wolf eradication in the west; chapters by prominent wildlife biologists, environmentalists, wolf reintroduction activists, and ranchers Tom Compton, Bonnie Brown, Mike Phillips, Norman A. Bishop, and Cheney Gardner; and an epilogue considering current issues surrounding the reintroduction of wolves in Colorado. Presenting a balanced perspective, these additional chapters address views both in support of and opposed to wolf reintroduction.
Coloradans are deeply interested in wilderness and the debate surrounding wolf reintroduction, but for wolves to have a future in Colorado we must first understand the past. The Last Stand of the Pack: Critical Edition presents both important historical scholarship and contemporary ecological ideas, offering a complete picture of the impact of wolves in Colorado.