Join us in supporting North Cascades grizzly bear recovery

Join us in supporting North Cascades grizzly bear recovery

Conservation Northwest / Sep 24, 2019 / Grizzly Bears

By Jessica Kelley, Okanogan Wildlife Organizer

I’m writing with urgent news regarding grizzly bear restoration in the North Cascades.

After more than a year of inactivity, the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are now revisiting the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for grizzly bear restoration, and have reopened the public comment period through October 24. All comments submitted in 2017 are still being considered, but we’re encouraging supporters, especially locals, to submit another comment.

Working with the Methow Valley Citizens Council and other local groups, we’re also coordinating a petition for residents of Okanogan, Chelan and other counties neighboring the North Cascades to express support.

Please read and sign the petition if you live in the area, let us know if you’d like to get more involved!

You should also be aware that at the behest of Congressman Dan Newhouse, the agencies are hosting an additional public meeting in Okanogan on October 7. We’re expecting opponents to be present expressing their displeasure, and we need supporters of grizzly bear recovery to attend the meeting and voice their support!

Public Meeting on Grizzly Bears
Monday, October 7, 5:00 to 8:30 pm
Okanogan County Fairgrounds Agriplex
175 Rodeo Trail Road, Okanogan, WA 98840

If you can make it on the evening of October 7th, please let us know using this sign-up sheet

However we understand that for some that may not be possible. If you can’t make it, please sign the petition, which supporters will bring to the meeting to present to the agencies and Congressman Newhouse. And please also be sure to submit an online comment.

Jessica Kelley is working with us to organize folks on behalf of grizzly bears and other wildlife in the Methow Valley and Okanogan County.

North Cascades National Park and the surrounding Wilderness Areas make up some of the largest, wildest contiguous public lands remaining in the American West. This is a place big enough for bears and people to coexist with proper management and some straightforward precautions, just as they do in other wild areas.

The Endangered Species Act is clear that we must recover threatened wildlife where suitable wild habitat remains. It’s time for grizzly restoration to move forward under the guidance of science and community input, before these bears are lost from the North Cascades for good.

I’m excited to see the grizzly bear restoration process moving forward once again, and believe local communities can successfully coexist with a small population of this native species returned to the backcountry areas we cherish.

If you have any questions about these action items, or are interested in helping gather local support for North Cascades grizzly bear recovery, please email us and let us know.

P.S. Save the date for another event in the works at the Red Barn in Winthrop on October 17. We’ll have a film, panel discussion on grizzly recovery, and very special guests. Stay tuned!