Bearly hanging on in the North Cascades

 

The following two comments were posted at hcn.org in response to Nathan Rice's feature story, "The Forgotten Grizzlies" (HCN, 11/14/11).


"The forgotten grizzlies" seems to suggest two things: (1) More research would somehow improve the chance for the grizzly bear to come in to the North Cascades. (2) More money would somehow allow the introduction of non-resident bears. On the first point, it is not clear that more studies would actually help the bears. The area includes designated wilderness, a national park, and a national recreation area. So what management changes would help the bears return? The Forest Service already has a plan to prevent loss of habitat, grizzly bears are not hunted, and nothing is stopping the bears from migrating into the area. Black bears are doing quite well in the area. Maybe grizzly bears are not pushing themselves into this area because they have better conditions elsewhere. Or, maybe they actually need more help somewhere else that is a better core area for them.

George Winters
Darrington, Washington

George, Good Points

The research may shed light on the status of the Cascades grizzly bear population, particularly whether there are breeding females and how they're related to bears in British Columbia. That information may in turn tell us something about connectivity between populations. Understanding their demography might also inform recovery actions -- for example, whether augmenting the population with bears from other systems is an appropriate strategy. We believe it is not only appropriate, but necessary for recovery.
The North Cascades grizzly bear recovery zone is already protected in a network of parks, wilderness and other designations. The habitat is extensive and very high quality. But grizzly bears are notoriously slow to reproduce and disperse. Females, the drivers of population growth, adopt home ranges that mostly overlap that of their mothers. And we know virtually nothing about the status of grizzly bears on the Canadian side of the Cascades except that there are very few animals. In fact, all of the populations in southern British Columbia are threatened and in need of recovery actions themselves. And every year, bears from those populations are lost to poaching and mistaken identity by black bear hunters. Natural recolonization for the Cascades will be slow and depend on protecting the bears in British Columbia and maintaining habitat connections.

Joe Scott
International Conservation Director, Conservation Northwest
Bellingham, Washington

High Country News Classifieds
  • ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
    HawkWatch International seeks an experienced fundraiser to join our awesome team! This position will provide support in all aspects of the department. We are looking...
  • STAFF ATTORNEY
    STAFF ATTORNEY POSITION OPENING IN TAOS, NEW MEXICO www.westernlaw.org/about-us/clinic-interns-careers The Western Environmental Law Center (WELC) is a nonprofit public interest environmental law firm with a...
  • DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
    will develop and execute Wild Utah Projects fundraising plan. Call, email or check full description of job online for more details:
  • HAND CRAFTED LOG HOME IN TETON VALLEY
    on ten acres. Full view of the Grand Teton. 35 miles to Yellowstone and 20 minutes to Grand Targhee Ski Area.
  • ACREAGE WITH HOME, SHOP, BARN FOR SALE!
    Must see for sng/extd fam or corp retreat in pines! $1,030,000
  • WESTERN REGIONAL MANAGER
    The American Forest Foundation seeks a smart and highly motivated candidate to join our Western conservation team. The Regional Manager supports the Regional Director to...
  • TRANSPORTATION PLANNER
    Exciting opportunity to lead the charge on meeting the future transportation demands of our community! This position will develop, coordinate, and implement the Integrated Transportation...
  • ENVIRONMENTAL WRITING INSTITUTE (EWI)
    with Robert Michael Pyle September 26-30, 2018, in Missoula MT.
  • REPORTING FELLOW - BOISE, ID
    Boise State Public Radio is hiring a Reporting Fellow as part of a new nationwide collaborative, Guns & America. Based in the state capitol, Boise...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Middle Colorado Watershed Council. Rifle, CO.
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF RIVERSEDGE WEST (FORMERLY TAMARISK COALITION)
    RiversEdge West is seeking an entrepreneurial leader with solid nonprofit management skills to lead our high functioning team and help us make an impact on...
  • HIRING BEARS EARS EDUCATION CENTER DIRECTOR
    Conservation nonprofit Friends of Cedar Mesa in Bluff, Utah is hiring an Education Center Director to oversee the operation of the Bears Ears Education Center....
  • DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR WITH WRA
    Western Resource Advocates (WRA) is seeking a talented, organized person with great people skills, who is passionate about protection of the natural environment to work...
  • DIRECTOR OF REGIONAL COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY
    The Wilderness Society is recruiting for an experienced Communicator for our Northwest Region. This position is located in Seattle, WA. For more information please visit...
  • SALMON RIVER IDAHO WILDERNESS RETREAT HOME
    Here is an opportunity to have a piece of self-sufficient paradise on Idaho's Main Salmon River adjacent to the largest Forest Service wilderness area in...
  • RAMMED EARTH SOLAR COTTAGE
    in 5-home conservation community & botanical sanctuary on 20 acres.
  • MEMBERSHIP AND ENGAGEMENT COORDINATOR
    The Montana Wildlife Federation is looking for an enthusiastic and innovative Membership and Engagement Coordinator to help grow and maintain our grassroots voice for wildife,...
  • SR ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNER
    The City of Fort Collins is excited to announce a Sr Environmental Planner position within the Natural Areas Department. This position will be housed within...
  • HISTORICAL VACATION CABIN
    on beautiful Snow Angel Ranch located within San Juan National Forest near Pagosa Springs, CO. Lakes, fly-fishing, swimming, hiking, mountain biking, horse trails, horse accommodations...
  • FIVE-ACRE VIEW LOT WITH WELL
    5 acres, well. Abuts Carson NF; hike fish ski; deer turkey elk.