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Will grizzly bears return to the North Cascades?

Washington Grizzly bears

Photo credit: Shutterstock

The fate of Washington’s grizzly bears is still undetermined and public sentiment seems to be divided. Currently, there is an Oct. 7, 2019 public meeting scheduled to gather comments regarding the plan to restore grizzly bears to the North Cascades. According to Dick Ewing, Okanogan County Farm Bureau president, whether that plan will move forward depends “on how many opponents” attend the meeting.

“The upper management in the U.S. Department of Interior is looking for a good reason not to do this (not to reintroduce grizzlies). That’s the implication from Congressman Dan Newhouse,” Ewing told the Capital Press. 

However, Ewing also said that the American Farm Bureau Federation “considers the current reopening of a public comment period ‘a serious attempt to move forward’.” Yet, he’s unsure whether the public meeting is just another step before the attempt is shut down or if the reintroduction is seriously being considered by wildlife agencies.

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“According to Newhouse, if we get 500 or more (opponents at the meeting) the agencies will seriously consider not doing it. If we only get 50 to 100, probably not,” said Ewing.

The public meeting will be held jointly by the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 7, 2019 in the Okanogan County Fairgrounds Agriplex. Individuals who want to voice either support or opposition to the grizzly bear restoration plan have exactly two minutes each to do so during the public forum. Those uninterested in attending the meeting, but still interested in commenting have until Oct. 24 to view the plan and comment online at

According to the Capital Press, Newhouse (R-Wash.) and many ranchers, orchardists, recreationist and residents all oppose the reintroduction plan and will be in attendance at the meeting in October. 

“I strongly encourage the people of Central Washington to attend this meeting in Okanogan in order to voice your opinion and put this proposal to rest, once and for all,” said Newhouse.


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Shane D. - posted 7 months ago on 10-07-2019 09:17:46 am

I get blown away by the responses in "support" of this. Having another apex predator that runs completely unchecked on the landscape is just poor management and we are naive to think these animals will regulate them selves. All we have to do is look at Montana & Wyoming as examples of the system failing. Grizzly populations have reached numbers well above the de-listing threshold but yet the States are unable to manage the species based on their indefinite coverage on the ISA.

Nathan M. - posted 8 months ago on 09-30-2019 12:24:33 pm

Horrible idea, the last thing northern cascades need is another apex predator, the game animals, ranchers and others are already suffering after someone's bright idea to relocate wolf's to this area..... but than again this is Washington and for some reason we just can't seem to learn from our mistakes.

Chase G. - posted 8 months ago on 09-24-2019 10:16:55 am
Seattle, WA

The North Cascades includes 10,000 square miles of some of the gnarliest country in the Lower 48, easily on par with the Northern Continental Divide, Yellowstone and Sawtooth ecosystems but missing a key native species: a functioning grizz population. If we can't allow just a few grizzlies here (5-10 a year until the population reaches 25 bears in and around North Cascades National Park under the proposed plan), what does that say about us?

As a hunter who frequents the backcountry of the North Cascades for mule deer, blacktails and black bears (and a GoHunt Insider and property owner within the Recovery Zone), I understand that sharing this landscape with grizz will require some precautions. But we hunters, anglers and other recreationists head into the outdoors because it connects us with a piece of our human and natural heritage. I believe those connections and that heritage are diminished when native wildlife are absent, including grizzly bears. Bring 'em back.

More testimonials of support, FAQs and more available at:

Michael C. - posted 8 months ago on 09-18-2019 04:08:56 pm

Yes, hopefully we will create a sustainable grizzly population in the northern Cascades, and then in the Wallowas in Oregon and the San Juans in Colorado. The SiskIyous for sure. The Henry Mountains in Utah. Bring them back.

JAMES R. - posted 8 months ago on 09-16-2019 02:14:37 pm

Take them all from Montana and move them to the Cascades, and never look back!!!!

JAMES R. - posted 8 months ago on 09-16-2019 02:14:38 pm

Take them all from Montana and move them to the Cascades, and never look back!!!!