A lone wolf seen following snowmobiles in Voyageurs National Park may have left the area, park officials said Thursday.
In recent weeks at least three snowmobile riders reported a wolf had followed them in the Ash River area about halfway between International Falls and Crane Lake. Voyageurs Superintendent Mike Ward said searches by park staff for the wolf this week have come up empty.
Park staff rerouted sections of the park's Green and Yellow snowmobile trails Tuesday, in hopes that removing visitors from the area would cause the wolf to leave, Ward said. No visitors have reported seeing the wolf since Sunday.
Officials will continue to monitor the area for the wolf into this weekend, Ward said. The park's pilot will then do a fly-over Monday to locate the five to nine wolf packs living in and around the park, and search from the air for any lone wolves.
Ward advised snowmobilers to keep moving if they see an animal while out on the trail, and to not feed animals they come across.
Warren Gressman of Duluth took photos of a lone wolf who passed by him while he was snowmobiling in the park Sunday and said he believes it was the same wolf that had been seen following other snowmobiles.
Gressman said he and a friend were on sleds traveling back to Northern Lights Resort on Lake Kabetogama from Kettle Falls when he saw a wolf walking toward them. They stopped and turned off their snowmobiles to watch the wolf. Gressman said he thought the animal would be like all the other wolves he's seen in the past and would run away before he could get his smartphone out to take photos of it.
"I was surprised it kept coming," he said.
The wolf passed the duo at a distance of about 30 feet and kept going, Gressman said.