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GRAY WOLVES’ RETURN TO YELLOWSTONE CALLED NO THREAT TO TOURISTS

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Most tourists at Yellowstone National Park would not be affected by a plan to return endangered gray wolves to the park and central Idaho, officials said.

Most Yellowstone visitors stay in the park's "front country," areas near roads and park facilities, and their movements would not be restricted if wolves are returned to the park, said spokeswoman Marsha Karle.Some areas could be restricted to back country hikers, she said, adding restrictions would be kept to a minimum.

"We would have to restrict some ares, like with bears, but we don't believe there will be a huge difference," she said. "Areas (where) wolves will probably spend their time are not popular areas of the park."

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has recommended introducing wolves to the park as an "experimental population." The designation would not give the wolves full protection under the Endangered Species Act; ranchers would be allowed to kill wolves if the animals are caught preying on livestock.

The agency has released its final environmental impact statement on the plan, and it is expected to make a final decision in mid-June, after a 30-day comment period.

The park will not take any action until a final decision is made.