Reintroduction of grizzly bears into the North Cascades: the question is not whether it will happen, but how it will happen. That's the word from last Thursday's community meeting at the Chelan City Hall. Chelan County Natural Resources Director Mike Kaputa said the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are trying to decide how many will be introduced at a time – 10 bears a year over 20 years, or twenty bears a year over ten years, that kind of thing. Their goal is to have a self-sustaining population of 200 grizzlies in the North Cascades. But Kaputa said the decision of a tribe up in Canada could have an impact on those plans:
Kaputa says an Environmental Impact Statement, set to be released in June, is considering what is called a 10-J rule, which is essentially a management program. Chelan County Commissioner Tiffany Gering, who represents the county on the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, says a public comment period on that statement is coming up:
Kaputa says reintroduction of grizzlies could happen in several years and could impact recreation and community safety.