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Residents Voice Strong Opposition to Grizzly Bear Reintroduction in North Cascades

Oct 08, 2019

An estimated 550 people showed up at the Okanogan County Agriplex Monday night to voice their displeasure with an Interior Department proposal to reintroduce as many as 200 grizzly bears to the North Cascades.

Congressman Dan Newhouse, who had urged residents to show up and make their opinions known, has officially opposed the proposal because he says that introducing an apex predator in the area will threaten the families, wildlife and livestock of North Central Washington. 

Many in attendance expressed concerns about the lack of appropriate food and habitat for the bears which would lead to dangerous grizzly interactions with livestock and even humans. Just last month, three hunters were injured in two separate grizzly bear attacks in the same area of southwestern Montana less than 12 hours apart. And a Washington state man was killed in the same area a few days later.

Okanogan and Chelan counties have opposed such efforts in the past. Jim DeTro, Okanogan County commissioner, said most people in Eastern Washington are opposed, and that was evident by the number of participants that spoke out against the proposal while only a very small handful were in favor of grizzly bear reintroduction.

DeTro said, “Commissioners wrote a letter a month ago or so not just saying no, but hell no.” He said, “We have 23,000 acres of tree fruit and grizzly experts have told us the only thing bears want more than honey is tree fruit. So they won’t stay up in the high country. They’ll be right down here in our back yards.”

The National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hosted the meeting on the Draft North Cascades Ecosystem Grizzly Bear Restoration Plan/Environmental Impact Statement.The draft EIS is currently open for comment through Oct. 24, 2019. The public is invited to view the Draft EIS and make comments online at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/grizzlydeis.

Written comments can be mailed to: Superintendent’s Office, North Cascades National Park Service Complex, 810 State Route 20, Sedro Woolley, WA 98284. Comments will not be accepted by fax, email, or any other way than those specified above.

 Grizzly Meeting.jpg

Photo Courtesy Congressman Dan Newhouse's Office

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