A grizzly bear at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center outside Yellowstone National Park in West Yellowstone, Mont., in 2017. (Whitney Shefte/The Washington Post)The federal government has drafted plans to bring grizzly bears back to Washington state’s North Cascades, the next step toward reintroducing the threatened species to a region where it was eliminated by hunters decades ago.
Bringing them back would be the culmination of a decades-long effort to restore grizzly bears to the ecosystem, one of six spots in the country where federal biologists have aimed to recover decimated populations. “It’s a pretty divisive issue,” said Lisa Janicki, a commissioner in Skagit County, one of the red-leaning rural areas on the edge of the ecosystem where some business owners and landowners have had concerns about the bears’ possible effect on agriculture, timber and farming.
“It’s been 30 years that we’ve protected it and been waiting, but they haven’t been able to get here,” North Cascades National Park wildlife biologist Jason Ransom said in a prerecorded National Park ServiceUnder either reintroduction option in the draft plan, the federal government would bring 3 to 7 grizzly bears to the North Cascades each year for 5 to 10 years, working to establish a population of 25 grizzlies.
“We feel this inherent hereditary need to protect the creatures in the environment and speak for them, and in particular the ones that have been lost,” Schuyler said. He noted that his people once coexisted with grizzlies and, like the bears, were threatened with removal by settlers. “The grizzly bear’s survival is, in a sense, the survival of our culture, our history.”For those worried about grizzlies coming onto locals’ property, objections remained. U.S. Rep.
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