By Ann McCreary
A public open house on grizzly bear recovery in the North Cascades drew about 80 Methow Valley residents to learn more about the proposal.
The March 3 open house held at the Winthrop Barn was the first of several information sessions that were held as a first step in the process of examining whether action should be taken to restore grizzlies to their historic habitat in the North Cascades.
The open houses provided information stations staffed by employees of the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Information focused on national grizzly recovery efforts and explanations of the process involved in developing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for grizzly recovery.
“For us these meetings are about listening to the public and what their concerns are. Part of what we do is try to understand what people are seeing potential impacts,” said Denise Shultz of the National Park Service and public information officer for the EIS.
Public comments on the proposed North Cascades grizzly bear recovery will be accepted through March 26. Shultz said about a dozen comments were submitted at the open house, and many people took comment forms with them from the open house.
“We expect thousands of comments,” Shultz said. “We take the comments into account as we begin to draft alternatives” for the EIS, she said.
An open house held March 4 in Okanogan also drew about 80 people, Shultz said. Open houses were also held in Wenatchee, Cle Elum, Seattle and Bellingham.
The National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are leading the EIS process.
The public can submit written comments online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/NCEG. Comments may also be submitted via regular mail or hand delivery at: Superintendent’s Office, North Cascades National Park Service Complex, 810 State Route 20, Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284. Comments will not be accepted by fax or email. Comments may be made public.
For information on grizzly bear recovery, visit http://bit.ly/NCEgrizzly.