Washington Grizzly Restoration Flawed from Start

As if Washington state wasn’t already convulsing in the throes of (mis)management issues related to spring black bear hunting, wolves, mountain lions and usurpation of the fish and game commission by animal-rights activists, the federal government has once again proposed to restore grizzly bears to the North Cascades Ecosystem as an “Experimental Population” under the Endangered Species Act.

The problem, however, is that the scoping document released jointly by the National Park Service (NPS) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) doesn’t ask citizens in the area if they even want grizzly bears reintroduced into the state, rather it tells them that grizzly bears will be reintroduced, it’s just a matter of how they will be reintroduced.

“Once again under the Biden administration, the input of concerned citizens and sportsmen has effectively been silenced,” said Todd Adkins, vice president of government affairs for the Sportsmen’s Alliance. “The entire premise of this scoping document is just a dog-and-pony show meant to appease the legal requirement to take comment, but it’s framed with one predetermined outcome in mind – the undeniable restoration of grizzly bears in Washington state.”

The scoping document states: “Action is needed at this time to: Restore grizzly bears to the NCE because they are functionally extirpated from the ecosystem.” It continues by stating: “All the action alternatives would seek to restore a self-sustaining population through the capture and release of grizzly bears into the NCE.” Even the option of ‘No Action’ carries actionable items such as restricted public access and PR messaging to citizens.

Of course, the restoration of grizzly bears to the North Cascades Ecosystem hands animal-rights organizations and activists leverage to keep Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) and Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE) grizzly bear populations permanently listed under the Endangered Species Act.

In the court fight to return grizzly bear management to Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, a judge’s ruling declared that management of grizzly bears in the GYE distinct population must take into consideration the status of other distinct populations of the apex predators in other areas.

“Because the GYE and NCDE grizzly bear populations have clearly surpassed all thresholds for delisting, and it’s just a matter of time before it happens, animal extremists are desperate to establish a new experimental population anywhere they can in order to keep the management of all distinct populations locked up in court and under federal control for the next century,” said Adkins. “We’ve seen this tactic of thwarting effective management for the last 20 years when it comes to wolves and grizzlies, and this latest proposal for the northern Cascades is clearly just another maneuver to delay responsible, scientific wildlife management of apex predators by state agencies.”

About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research.  Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: Online, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.