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North Cascades grizzly bear restoration planning begins—again

The slow-moving process of drafting a Final Environmental Impact Statement for North Cascades grizzly bear recovery is back in action. Photo: Unsplash / Jessica Weiller.

After more than two decades of planning for grizzly recovery, it’s time to speak up for America’s most iconic symbol of the wild, once and for all.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. It’s been 22 years since then U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Regional Director Ralph Morgenweck signed the 2nd edition of the North Cascades Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan.

Ralph was almost before my time—and that’s saying something. The 1997 Plan “Chapter” was preceded

by a five-year habitat analysis, completed in 1993, that established the necessary habitat quality of the North Cascades to house a viable grizzly bear population.

I doubt even old Ralph would have envisioned that it would take more than two decades to complete the next step—a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) intended to guide the restoration of the iconic grizzly to the wild, wide-open spaces of the wildest place in the Pacific Northwest. But here we are.

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