Feds Announce Plans to Restore Grizzly Bears in Washington State

Conservationists are applauding the announcement of a plan to help restore grizzly bears in Washington State.

Grizzly bears once ranged widely throughout the west, but they were nearly wiped out by the early 1900s. Sadly, they are believed to have lost 98 percent of their historic range, and are now only found in a few isolated populations.

Last year, federal wildlife officials estimated there were fewer than 10 individuals left in the North Cascades. They are among the most at risk of going extinct in the lower 48.

In response to concerns they may disappear from the Pacific Northwest, wildlife officials have been working on a proposal to help restore them. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Park Service (NPS) have just formally announced a draft plan with four different options to bring their numbers back up.

The agencies may take no action and continue managing them as they are, hoping for the best, but the remaining three options all include translocating bears from other populations in British Columbia, Canada, or the Northern Continental Divide ecosystem. The options for adding more bears vary, but ultimately aim to see a population of 200 bears.

“Grizzly bears are highly intelligent, charismatic animals,” said Joe Scott, International Programs Director for Conservation Northwest. “For many Northwesterners they are the very embodiment of wildness. Returning this magnificent animal to the North Cascades is a rare opportunity to restore our natural heritage. But we will need to work together – public agencies, local communities, First Nations, conservation, backcountry users and rural economic interests to do so; and so that it works for everyone. Then we will have cemented our wildlife legacy by leaving the North Cascades a bit wilder for future generations.”

How to Help

The agencies haven’t chosen a preferred option yet, and will be seeking input from the public over the next few weeks.  If you would like to make a comment in support of these efforts, you can submit one at the Federal Register until March 14.

For more on how to help show your support for restoring grizzlies to the North Cascades, check out Conservation Northwest and the North Cascades Grizzly Bear on Facebook.

Photo credit: Terry Tollefsbol/USFWS


Marie W
Marie Wabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

adam a
adam aabout a year ago


George L
George L1 years ago

Thank you

Melania Padilla
Melania P1 years ago

I hope Trump does not get in the middle of this....

Leong S
Leong S1 years ago


Simon L
Simon L1 years ago


Samuel B
Samuel B1 years ago

This is great news. Let's just hope that Trump doesn't decide to reverse this plan with all of his anti-environmental policies.

Cindy M. D
Cindy M. D1 years ago

This is awesome new!! I just hope and pray that in a year or two hunting does not start up. We need to keep taking steps forward. These bears are so intelligent and so adorable. I am thrilled they are back in Washington State. Lets keep up the good work.

Elaine A
Elaine Al Meqdad1 years ago


Joanne p
Joanne p1 years ago