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Park Service to study idea of putting grizzly bears in Washington state

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File photo of mother grizzly bear and her cub. (Photo:

WASHINGTON — The National Park Service announced Thursday it is starting a three-year study whether grizzly bears should be restored to the North Cascades in Washington state.

“This is the first stage of a multi-step process to help inform decisions about grizzly bear restoration in the North Cascades ecosystem,” National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said in a news release.

He cautioned that, “The National Park Service and our partners in this effort haven’t made any decisions about the bear’s restoration at this time as federal law requires us to look at a range of options, including not restoring grizzlies to the area.”

The process begins this week with the agency requesting quotes from contractors to conduct an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) this fall.

Jarvis said the statement will be developed in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), which administers the Endangered Species Act.

“The Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan calls on us to fully consider the restoration of the grizzly bear in the North Cascades, and the process ensures we solicit the public for their input before putting any plan into action,” said FWS Director Dan Ashe. “We will work together with the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, state of Washington, and the public as we move through the EIS process.”

FWS listed the grizzly bear as a threatened species in the lower 48 United States in 1975. The species was listed as endangered by the state of Washington in 1980. A grizzly bear recovery plan was written in 1982 and revised in 1993. Its chapter on the North Cascades ecosystem was added in 1997 and includes a call for an EIS.

The NPS  said the North Cascades ecosystem encompasses 9,800 square miles in the U.S. and another 3,800 square miles in British Columbia, Canada. A few grizzly bears have been sighted in the Canadian part of the ecosystem. No grizzly bears have been sighted on the U.S. side for several years.

The U.S. side of the ecosystem includes North Cascades National Park, Ross Lake National Recreation Area, Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, and Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.




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  • Lance Degnan

    Guess they didn’t learn much from the Wolf fiasco, now the want to bring in Griz to maul a few hikers. and to Kristina >> you ever seen a Grizzly bear ?? If you were to see one outside your car in Yellowstone you might think differently !!

    • Katie Martinson

      Ive lived and worked in yellowstone for 2 years now, am a washington resident and have had a close encounter with a grizzly and still say yes, absolutely restore them to washington.

  • David

    Have we not learned that messing with nature and ecosystems usually ends badly? How many times do we need to repeat these stupid mistakes?

  • Irene Walker Gilbert

    There are only three places that grizzly bears should be placed if this stupid plan to waste taxpayer money goes forward: Put the things in downtown Seattle, Washington D.C or downtown Portland, Or. Let them eat something besides deer and elk. These ideas, like the wolf lovers seem to generally originate in those areas and it is about time the people who think these ideas are so great get to live with the consequences. Those of us living in the eastern parts of Oregon and Washington have provided enough deer, elk, cattle, dogs and cats so that the city dwellers can say they have reintroduced predators. We are flat out of food for them and resist the idea of letting them eat our children.

    • Jonathan

      So basically you’re saying, I don’t like big city people or anyone in government so let them all be eaten alive by bears. Nice… keep that civil, intelligent discourse going Irene.

      • Irene Walker Gilbert

        Just tired of having people who don’t have to live with the consequences of their stupid ideas spend our money and force us to live with the problems they create. If the people who thought it was a great idea to introduce Canadian wolves into Oregon and Washington and decided it was not humane to control cougar populations had to pack a gun to take their grandkids huckleberry picking in order to protect their pets and kids they might think twice about grizzly bears. I don’t relish the idea of having to trade my 38 in for a 45 handgun and buy hollow point ammunition because these people don’t get it that there are already too many predators in the forest and we are out of deer and elk to feed them. A cougar kills a deer or elk calf once a week. No wonder they are eating cattle and pets. In our town a cougar was killed a block and a half from a local grade school. A five year old came in and told his dad there was a BIG cat in the back yard. They have killed three cougars in town. How safe would you feel?????

  • Irene Walker Gilbert

    Bottom line: There is a choice to be made–there are now too many people to expect there to be the number of predators that those in populated areas think there should be and no doubt were when there were few people. If you want to have grizzly bears, cougars, wolves, etc. running all over the place, you need to kill off a bunch of people. There simply is not the space to accommodate both. Personally, I believe the ones that will doom the wilderness are the the environmentalists that are locking people out of the forests in order to introduce things like grizzly bears and wolves.. I love and protect the forests because I use them. The more roadless areas in National Forests, the less young people see them as having value. By the time my grandchildren are grown, if we continue creating wilderness areas necessary to support all the predators and locking people out the forests will be seen as having no value. No access, no hunting, no camping, no picnicing, no mushroom or berry picking, no logging, no taxes. These young people will be electing representatives to go to Washington DC and vote to sell the land off as it will be seen as useless to them. That you can’t use, and can’t access becomes valueless.

  • Rick Wagner

    John Wayne is dead. The frontier is gone. We have carved our nitch here. Bring back something that is real before strip malls take over everything. You antis will be gone one day, too. Messing with ecosystems? We are the overpopulated, selfish and shortsighted. What are you scared of, really? Cars kill as many Americans every two years in the U.S. as the entire Vietnam War did. Yes, I have a clue. I am a military veteran, I have worked cattle, and I have slept in grizzly country, alone, on the ground. Do not call me liberal, I am not. My kids were raised on venison. I want to hunt a real world, not a game farm.

  • Rick Wagner

    If you can not get into the boonies without burning some petrol, perhaps you do not belong anyway. I call people like that “windshield tourist”. Who was that making fun of city people?

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