Sorry for having to be the bearer of bad news, but the Biden government is making another bad decision. Republicans in the region are opposing the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s and the National Park Service’s plans to restore grizzly bears into northern Washington’s North Cascades National Park.
“A group of Republicans has asked for the Biden administration to grant the public more time to express concerns with the plan to release populations of grizzly bears into a federally controlled forest region in northern Washington.”
“The six Republican congressmen, led by Congressional Western Conference Chair Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., wrote to Departments of Wildlife Service Director Martha Williams as well as National Park Service Director Charles Sams requesting an extension of the public discussion period on the plan to 180 days. Also, they asked the agencies to hold more face-to-face meetings with people in the neighborhood who would be affected by the plan.”
“Time and again, the northern Washington residents have voiced their deep concerns regarding the influx of grizzlies back into the North Cascades, as they represent a danger to the safety of the surrounding communities,” declared Newhouse in a statement.
There’s no doubt that this is causing trouble.
In many funny memes on the internet, grizzlies are shown as big, soft animals. This is not true. A fully grown male upland bear, like you would’ve found throughout the Cascades a hundred years ago, can weigh in excess of 650 pounds. The big coastal browns of Alaska, which belong to the exact same species but live in an entirely different environment, could weigh half as much. They’re smart and flexible, and they spend a lot of the summer eating everything they can get their hands on to get fat for winter. In addition, they are notorious for “unfavorable human/bear encounters.” While they are not sneaky animals, they also don’t do well living near people. They belong in the wild and need to be left there.
There are other things to think about in the Cascades as well.
They wrote to the NPS in late 2022, “We have already submitted extensive comments arguing against grizzly bears returning to our local neighborhoods.” Chelan County, Washington, is close to the North Cascades. “We continue to stand against grizzly bear reintroduction considering the likely harm it would cause to the safety of the public, economic growth, opportunities for recreation, and the entire livelihood of our rural neighborhoods.”
“The federal agencies overseeing this effort have not done enough to deal with these concerns while also having failed to interact in any significant way with Chelan County as well as other neighboring counties in the vicinity of the planned grizzly bear reintroduction area,” the letter said.
“On top of that, the Washington-based Cattlemen’s Association, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in addition to Public Lands Council have spoken out against bringing back grizzly bears to this area over the species’ potentially devastating effects on cattle.”
It is best to watch grizzlies, even big ones, from afar.
Author: Scott Dowdy