View 5 of the grizzly bear controversy

 

Note: This article is a sidebar to one of this issue's feature stories, Bringing back grizzlies splits environmentalists, in a special issue about collaboration in the West.

Michael Scott recently became program director of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. Before that, he was with The Wilderness Society. He lives in Bozeman.

There is a lot of overlap in our respective positions about reintroducing bears where they existed in the past. But what role should science and national standards play? That is where we part ways with Hank and Tom and Seth.

First, we want to see a reintroduction formula rooted in science. There has been habitat mapping that says the best habitat for grizzlies is north of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness along the Lochsa River. It has terrific riparian areas that bears would probably move into.

There's no problem with an experimental population, but let's base it on science. Let's think about what the bears will do when they're there. Let's put in some protection for the habitat the bears will use.

Second, who makes the life and death decisions about the grizzlies? Is it a committee appointed by the governors? Or is it the agencies that have the legal authority working with citizen advisory committees? We don't like the notion of turning life and death decisions over to a citizen committee.

Let's say we get into a major disagreement. Under their approach you have no normal appeal process. You have to ask the secretary of Interior to withdraw the experimental process which gives the citizen committee their power. Our alternative is that it should be like other decisions federal and state agencies make, with the citizens as an advisory group.

If you set aside the habitat and the decision-making issues, a lot of the issues could probably work out. There's a positive sense on the part of everyone up there (in central Idaho) to reintroduce grizzlies. That's great. We don't see why a broadly representative advisory committee wouldn't be acceptable.

Our basic concern is that it was a political decision. They told industry: "Name your price for reintroduction, and we'll meet it as long as we get the bears." But what does that decision mean for red wolves in North Carolina, for example? It could create real problems elsewhere.

We're not trying to use bears as a surrogate for anything else. We're concerned about the bears, and their chances for survival.

High Country News Classifieds
  • RARE CHIRICAHUA RIPARIAN LAND FOR SALE: NEAR CHRICAHUA NATIONAL PARK
    2 (20 acre sites): 110 miles from Tucson:AZ Native trees: Birder's heaven: dark skies: Creek: borders State lease & National forest: /13-16 inches of rain...
  • DIRECTOR - SONORAN DESERT INN & CONFERENCE CENTER
    The Sonoran Desert Inn & Conference Center is a non-profit lodging and event venue in Ajo, Arizona, located on the historic Curley School Campus. We...
  • CANYONLANDS FIELD INSTITUTE
    Field Seminars for adults: cultural and natural history of the Colorado Plateau. With guest experts, local insights, small groups, and lodge or base camp formats....
  • PLANNED GIVING OFFICER
    National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), the nation's oldest and largest national parks nonprofit advocacy organization seeks a Planned Giving Officer. Do you find energy in...
  • DEPUTY DIRECTOR
    The Methow Valley Citizens Council has a distinguished history of advocating for progressive land use and environmental values in the Methow Valley and Okanogan County...
  • ACTING INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS DESK EDITOR
    High Country News is seeking an Acting Indigenous Affairs Editor to oversee the work of our award-winning Indigenous Affairs Desk while our editor is on...
  • GRANTS PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    The Cinnabar Foundation seeks an enthusiastic, team-oriented and knowledgeable Grants Program Director to work from their home in Montana. Established in 1983, the Cinnabar Foundation...
  • ARTEMIS PROGRAM MANAGER
    The Artemis Program Manager will work with National Wildlife Federation sporting and public lands staff to change this dynamic, continue to build upon our successful...
  • ALASKA SEA KAYAK BUSINESS FOR SALE
    Well-known and successful sea kayak, raft, hike, camp guiding & water taxi service. Sale includes everything needed to run the business, including office & gear...
  • MEMBERSHIP AND EVENTS PROGRAM COORDINATOR
    Great Old Broads for Wilderness seeks a detail-oriented and enthusiastic Membership and Events Coordinator to join our small, but mighty-fun team to oversee our membership...
  • PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT FACILITATOR
    ABOUT THE HIGH DESERT MUSEUM Since opening in 1982, HIGH DESERT MUSEUM has brought together wildlife, culture, art and natural resources to promote an understanding...
  • LAND STEWARD, ARAVAIPA
    Steward will live on-site in housing provided by TNC and maintains preserve areas frequented by the visiting public and performs land management activities. The Land...
  • DEVELOPMENT WRITER
    Who We Are: The Nature Conservancy's mission is to protect the lands and waters upon which all life depends. As a science-based organization, we create...
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    Driggs, ID based non-profit. Full time. Full job description available at tvtap.org. Submit cover letter and resume to [email protected]
  • ENVIRONMENTAL AND CONSTRUCTION GEOPHYSICS
    - We find groundwater, buried debris and assist with new construction projects for a fraction of drilling costs.
  • SPRING MOUNTAINS SOLAR OFF GRID MOUNTAIN HOME
    Located 50 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada in the pine forest of Lee Canyon at 8000 feet elevation. One of a kind property surrounded...
  • MAJOR GIFTS MANAGER - MOUNTAIN WEST, THE CONSERVATION FUND
    Cultivate, solicit and steward a portfolio of 75-125 donors.
  • NATURE'S BEST IN ARAVAIPA CANYON
    10 acre private oasis in one of Arizona's beautiful canyons. Fully furnished, 2123 sq ft architectural custom-built contemporary home with spectacular views and many extras....
  • HEALTH FOOD STORE IN NW MONTANA
    Turn-key business includes 2500 sq ft commercial building in main business district of Libby, Montana. 406.293.6771 /or [email protected]
  • LUNATEC ODOR-FREE DISHCLOTHS
    are a must try. They stay odor-free, dry fast, are durable and don't require machine washing. Try today.