Testimonials and supportive quotes do not reflect the views of all organizational, business and individual Friends of the North Cascades Grizzly Bear. Testimonials are listed in no particular order. Resolutions and letters of support can also be found on our Resources page. Want to provide a supportive testimonial? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Having grizzly bears in the Cascades is part of our region’s heritage and identity, and the Tulalip people have long held a cultural connection with these bears. It would be tragic to lose those connections. With so few grizzlies hanging on in our region, we must act before they are gone for good. I support efforts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and North Cascades National Park to begin environmental analysis regarding measures to save and recover the North Cascades grizzly population in a way that incorporates thorough citizen, community and stakeholder input and fully respects tribal treaty rights. Now is the time to begin these recovery efforts so that future generations can experience a connection with a wild North Cascades shared with grizzly bears, rather than landscape made less wild in their absence.”– Senator John McCoy, Washington State Senator and member of the Tulalip Tribes. Read Sen. McCoy’s full statement
“Kiʔlawnaʔ (grizzly bear) has been an integral and critical part of the Syilx (Okanagan people) culture since time immemorial. It’s presence in Syilx Territory is an indicator of the health of the Syilx land and people. We will work to build the supportive relationships needed to ensure that kiʔlawnaʔ will remain and thrive in its natural environment”
– Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Chairman, Okanagan Nation Alliance
“I support North Cascades grizzly bear recovery because I want wild to mean something similar to my daughter in the future as it does to me now. We live and work and play in the wild North Cascades Ecosystem. We see cougars, lynx, bobcat, coyotes, eagles, and once even a wolverine. We are smart enough to learn to live safely and respectfully with all wild animals, especially as we have influenced their habitat and their population numbers so greatly. Learning about grizzly bear biology and behavior gives a much clearer understanding of how to live with them safely and not be as fearful. We need to conserve and make room for all species, we all have a role to play.”
– Alexa Whipple, Mother and Winthrop business owner, Winthrop, WA
“Grizzly bears epitomize wildness. Where these iconic animals can live and roam, there is clear air, clean water and wild country. What’s good for bears is good for people, too.”
– Chris Morgan, Ecologist, filmmaker and bear advocate
“Why bother? Because it is what respectful inhabitants of this grand place should do. The grizzly was the king of the Cascade crest when we arrived here with our long rifles. He should be restored to that throne. Yes, the potential “recovery area” for the bears is large, its borders skirting towns on both sides of the Cascades. And yes, grizzlies in our backcountry would require new habits from all of us. Sacrifices, but small ones given the greater good. I see the grizzly’s comeback as the capstone to a string of victories we’ve already achieved in the battle to bolster the framework of the Northwest’s natural heritage. Conservation-minded Northwesterners have protected our last, best places as wilderness areas or national parks. We have saved (barely) the last stands of healing old-growth forest. We have reconnected wilderness pathways that allow forest creatures from the moose to the fisher to survive human incursion. We’re working to save the wild Pacific salmon — no sure thing — and with it, the iconic orcas of the Salish Sea. Against major odds, we took a hard look at our region’s most egregious natural transgression — the Elwha River dams — and knocked them down. We did all that. We can do this.”
– Ron Judd, Pacific NW magazine staff writer. From a November 19, 2015 feature story published by The Seattle Times
“The Tulalip Tribes have long held a cultural connection with the great bear. One of our elders tells a story of the grizzly bear as his family’s medicine. As a young man serving in the Korean War, he credits the grizzly bear with saving a patrol he was leading from a night time ambush. It is our hope that future generations can know of and experience a wild North Cascades shared with grizzly bears rather than a less wild landscape without them.”
– The Tulalip Tribes. Read the full letter
“Humans benefit from grizzly bears living in the North Cascades Ecosystem. Their very presence indicates wildness, biodiversity and health in our region. Environmentally and ethically, the right thing to do is restore this magnificent species to its original landscape.”
– Fred Koontz, Vice President of Field Conservation for Woodland Park Zoo
“It has long been a position of the Yakama Nation that all native species must be protected from extirpation. In that regard, the Yakama Nation supports the efforts…..to begin implementation of the North Cascades Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan. You may include the Yakama Nation in your list of groups who support grizzly bear recovery in the NCE.”
– Yakama Nation. Read the full letter
“The Tribe fully supports the recovery of grizzly bears as long as the following concerns are addressed: 1) prevention of bear/human conflicts, 2) no areas are to be closed to Treaty rights, and 3) consideration is given to predation of game species of tribal significance. The Stillaguamish Tribe recognizes that the conservation of grizzly bears will also benefit other forest species.”
– Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians. Read the full resolution
“The CEC calls upon the Province of British Columbia, the government of Canada, the state of Washington and the US government to act promptly and act effectively to implement cooperative actions for protection of Grizzly Bear and recovery of threatened grizzly bear populations in southern British Columbia and the northern US.”
– Okanagan Nation Alliance, including the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation. Read the full resolution
“National parks and native wildlife go together, and North Cascades National Park needs its grizzly bears for visitors today and for generations to come. The great bears make this national park a spectacular, diverse piece of wild America, and that’s worth protecting.”
– Rob Smith, Northwest Regional Director, National Parks Conservation Association
“When you hike in grizzly country all of your senses are heightened. You may never see one, but knowing that they are there validates that you are traveling across hallowed grounds—a landscape retaining one of its wildest components. And a shrinking part of our natural heritage.”
– Craig Romano, Hiking guide author. Read more of Craig’s perspectives on grizzly bears
“Public planning to restore a healthy grizzly bear population to the high-quality habitat of the North Cascades Ecosystem marks the potential turning point in the decades-long decline of the last grizzly bears remaining on the U.S. West Coast. Without active recovery efforts, these bears may soon be gone forever.”
– Joe Scott, International Conservation Director, Conservation Northwest. Read more from Joe in this joint Op-Ed in The Everett Herald.
“In order for a place to be truly wild it must contain the iconic species that once lived there. As someone who lives in Okanogan County and has seen one of the elusive Ghost Bears I would welcome their recovery. Why? Because I want my home to be wild.
– Gregg Bafundo, Hunter, hiker and Okanogan County resident. Read more from Gregg in this Op-Ed in the Wenatchee World from April 2017.
“As someone who hunts, fishes and recreates in the backcountry of the North Cascades, I understand that sharing this landscape with grizzly bears will require some precautions. But whether it’s hiking with bear spray and bear canisters or changing the way I store and transport wild game, I’m happy to take these steps because it means the ecosystem and the time I spend within it have been made wilder by the presence of this iconic species. Hunters, anglers and other recreationists head into the outdoors because it connects us with a vital piece of our human and natural heritage. I believe those connections and that heritage are diminished when native wildlife are absent, especially grizzly bears.”
– Chase Gunnell, Conservationist, hunter, angler and outdoor recreationist. Hear more details and perspectives from Chase in this interview with the Cascade Hiker Podcast from April 2017.
“Grizzlies energize some of the grandest landscapes in North America. And all the while, these bears expand our awareness of nature, redefine our relationship with it, encourage us to tie together fragmented ecosystems, and thereby restore wholeness to the living world. How much of this is enough? I don’t know, but ‘less’ doesn’t sound like the right answer.”
– Doug Chadwick, biologist, author, National Geographic contributing writer
“The grizzly bear for the St’at’imc people have been really important… [grizzly bears] had a huge impact on our way of life and how we became, how we evolved as people. It was a teacher for us.”
– Chief Michelle Edwards, Cayoose Creek Band, St’at’imc First Nation
“Today the grizzly population living in the North Cascades is too small to be sustainable, but the good news is that there is widespread public support for grizzly bear recovery in Washington. As we work to bring bears back to the region, we encourage the state to support recovery efforts and proactively address sources of potential conflicts between bears and people.”
– Shawn Cantrell, Pacific Northwest Director, Defenders of Wildlife
“Restoring a healthy population of grizzlies to Washington state’s North Cascades presents another monumental opportunity for wildlife conservation. While grizzlies are an iconic species that epitomizes wild America for people across the country, hunters will play a key role in bringing these bears back to the North Cascades. At nearly 10,000 square miles, it’s one of the largest contiguous areas of wild public land remaining in the lower 48 states, a place cherished for its rugged country, abundant wildlife and rich opportunities for hunting, fishing and enjoying our natural heritage. It’s a place big and wild enough for both people and grizzly bears to roam. Hunters will be among the most knowledgeable and passionate supporters of grizzly bear recovery and their advocacy will help to build the types of cooperative programs between public agencies and citizen stakeholders that are so critically important for the success of historic conservation efforts such as this. As importantly, building a strong alliance between the hunting community and other bear advocates will not only serve grizzly bears well, this type of collaboration is the key to other successful wildlife recovery efforts and strong conservation programs going forward.“
– Tom France, Regional Director, National Wildlife Federation
“As a lifelong hunter, fisherman, and wilderness enthusiast, I cherish intact landscapes where all native wildlife species are present. That’s why I support the return of a viable population of grizzlies to the North Cascades. Now that we’ve achieved recovery of grizzlies in suitable portions of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, it’s time to look westward.”
– Steven Rinella, hunter, outdoorsman, author, and host of television shows including MeatEater.
“There are only a handful of grizzly bears left in Washington, and this is the only population of grizzlies remaining in the contiguous United States outside the northern Rockies. Our members, who fish, hunt and recreate extensively in the North Cascades, recognize that it is a landscape of far more than mountains, forest, and rivers. It is also home to wildlife, and surely grizzly bears are every bit as integral to this magnificent landscape as the rivers we fish. As you know, the recovery area encompasses most of the counties that make up Local 191’s jurisdiction. We hope that future generations will be able to experience a wild North Cascades shared with grizzly bears, as we still can, rather than a less wild place devoid of the great bear.”
– IBEW Local Union 191, Everett, Washington. Read the full letter from Local Union 191
“The grizzly bear is an unmistakable symbol of wilderness. I will never forget the first encounter I had with a grizzly in the backcountry. A sow and three cubs crossed a snowfield only a few hundred yards in front of me. I stood in awe of the juxtaposition of power and vulnerability. Humans and the wild are interconnected, whether we choose to recognize it or not. In the same way that my path crisscrossed with those bears, so too is the health and complexity of our mountain landscapes. We stand at the point of decision; to save our grizzlies and restore health, balance, and wonder to the North Cascades or to allow them to fade away into memory—an empty icon of wilderness past.”
– Heather Anderson, Through-hiker
“I support grizzly bear recovery in the North Cascades because this is, and always has been, grizzly bear country. Grizzly bears are the ultimate symbol of how beautiful and wild Washington really is. If we allow them to disappear from the North Cascades completely, Washington becomes a little less wild and a little more urbanized – just like everywhere else.
– Jacob Richardson, Wildlife monitoring volunteer
“The STSA recognize that x̱eytl’áls (grizzly bear) is an important umbrella species that requires protection, and through whose protection many other species will benefit. The STSA recognize that x̱eytl’áls (grizzly bear) populations within S’ólh Téméxw and the surrounding areas are at risk and that immediate action is required for their survival. The STSA calls upon the Province of British Columbia, the Government of Canada, the State of Washington, and the Government of the United States of America to act promptly and effectively to implement cooperative actions for the protection and recovery of x̱eytl’áls (grizzly bear) and their habitat in southern British Columbia and northern Washington state.”
– Otis Jasper, Chair of the S’ólh Téméxw Stewardship Alliance. Read the full resolution
“We are fortunate to live in the Northwest at a time when past mistakes in our relationship with the land and other creatures are recognized, and restoration efforts find wide support. Establishing North Cascades National Park and designating wilderness areas in the Cascades were important steps. They represent growing appreciation of wild places and the benefits they offer. They acknowledge the rights of other species to exist and the necessity of our showing restraint in how we treat the land and its inhabitants. Restoring wildlife species such as the grizzly bear and fisher is an important next step in healing the wild world we have come so close to losing entirely. If Earth’s amazing and interconnected diversity of life is to survive, we need to continually strive to preserve habitat, connect protected areas, and restore species such as the grizzly that are unlikely to recover on their own. The reward for us is knowing that truly wild and complete places exist and that, with knowledge and skill, we can safely experience them and hand them on to our descendants.”
– Tim Manns, Conservation Chair, Skagit Audubon Society, Mount Vernon, Washington
“The grizzly bear is a powerful symbol of natural power that should be preserved to the greatest extent possible. As members of the food chain they influence and preserve the strong ecosystem that Washington is known for. Our great state has an obligation to protect all of it’s inhabitants.”
– Alexander Dines, Founder, Black Tower Entertainment
“In Tlingit history (in Southeast Alaska) during the Great Flood a grizzly bear and a mountain goat led our people up the highest mountain near the area that is known as Keex’Kwaan, thus saving our people. In honor of the grizzly bear and mountain goat my ancestors from that time forward have used them as our clan crests. Native Americans have great respect for the grizzly bear, it is known as a powerful healer, as we learned much from observing how the bear works with many local native herbs and plants. Even naming the Osha plant ‘bear root’ as the bears used it when sick, wounded, and after emerging from hibernation. Today the North Cascades grizzly bear population has been flooded by human’s commercial trapping, habitat loss, and unregulated hunting. It is our turn to save the grizzly bear. I ask you to join us in supporting the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that are examining ways to recover their population.”
– Sweetwater Nannauck, Director of Idle No More Washington
“My nephew and I have been privileged to see two North Cascades Grizzlies, a mom and cub, while hiking in the Glacier Peaks Wilderness Area in 2003. Although the meeting with “Mom” was a bit scary and touch and go for a bit, all ended well for both the grizzly family and ourselves, though we got little sleep that night! The grizzly is part of our natural ecosystem and their populations should be preserved; this will most certainly be the high-point wilderness wildlife sighting of our lives.”
– Bob Taylor, Vancouver, Washington
“I worked for three summers as a Naturalist in Denali National Park. I led hikes for visitors and spent most my days off hiking in the park. I had several encounters with grizzlies, a few were tense but most were benign. Hiking in grizz country is different. The all mighty human becomes humbled before the power of nature, and the potential for looking death straight in the eye. Something primitive inside you wakes up and you become hyper-alert. You see everything, the bend of a bush, the crackle of leaves, the density of berries. Your brain filters possible bear information and it affects your decision making, you think not like a predator but like prey, you avoid the thicket and choose to walk in the open. You constantly make noise to avoid surprising king bear. A sudden noise and you clutch your can of bear spray and then sigh in relief that it’s just a squirrel. The primary difference in hiking in bear territory is that you become part of nature in a way that is unique, and a little bit of you is changed forever by the experience. I think we need badly need this connection, and the humility that comes with it, in order to be fully human again. In bear territory you fully understand you are a part of nature, not the lord of it.”
– Rob Sandelin, Naturalist, Writer, Teacher, Snohomish, Washington