Filmmaker Chris Morgan will state the case for restoring grizzly bears to the North Cascades in an Oct. 20 program in Seattle.
The National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are in the process of developing an environmental impact statement looking at options for restoring grizzly bears in the North Cascades. There has been just one sighting in the last decade of a grizzly bear in the North Cascades, making it the most at-risk grizzly population in the United States.
The U.S. Forest Service and state Department of Fish and Wildlife are assisting with the plan.
A draft of the plan is expected to be completed by this fall. The plan will outline several possible steps for recovering the bears. It will also include an option for taking no action.
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The plan’s recovery zone stretches from the Canadian border to Interstate 90, including the North Cascades National Park and portions of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.
Proponents argue the agencies should take reasonable steps to reintroduce grizzlies to the region because there are so few bears in the region that are they are having a hard time finding each other to mate. Also, having so few bears also means having limited genes in the population.
Opponents say grizzlies could have a negative impact on big-game populations, as well as livestock. Other argue that a reintroduction program would not be the best use of funds that could better spent on other public and park improvement projects.
Morgan has worked for more than 40 years working as a wildlife researcher, wilderness guide and environmental educator. He has hosted TV productions for PBS Nature, National Geographic and The Discovery Channel.
He recently made a short film, “Wanted: Grizzly Bears?”, that looks at the issues facing the few remaining grizzly bears in the North Cascade ecosystem.
There will be a question-and-answer session with Morgan after his presentation.
Staffers from supporting agencies, including Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, Conservation Northwest and National Park Conservation Association, will be on hand to share information. The event is being hosted by the Friends of the North Cascades Grizzly Bear.
Also on hand will be staff from Western Wildlife Outreach with its bear trailer, sharing information about bears and other wildlife.
There also will be a raffle of outdoor gear and other prizes.
All the proceeds from the event will support grizzly bear conservation.
Jeffrey P. Mayor: 253-597-8640
Grizzly reintroduction program
When: The doors will open at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 20, with the program beginning at 7 p.m.
Where: Seattle Mountaineers Program Center, 7700 Sand Point Way NW, Seattle.
Tickets: $5-$50 and are available at whygrizzlybears.brownpapertickets.com.