IGBC Prepares for Grizzly Return to Bitterroots

LarryBoy

Hiker Trash
.
Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
2,141
Sounds like the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee is establishing a science committee for the Bitterroot region. This is predicated on the continued expansion of grizzly habitat recently, and they anticipate that grizzlies will re-establish a population in the Bitterroots sooner rather than later. Some very interesting stuff in this article - probably worth a read!

I just wonder how long it's going to be before grizzlies make the jump across the Red Desert down into the Uintas or the Medicine Bow - or if that's even possible.


 

LarryBoy

Hiker Trash
.
Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
2,141
Indeed. I kind of doubted myself for a while, since it was outside their published range. But the confirmed sighting "west of Lolo" from the article does fit with where I saw it (up on the crest between Hwy 12 and I-90. I guess the moral of the story here is that the maps aren't keeping up with the actual habitat expansion. Amazing to see these critters reclaim their old territory - all we need to do is give them a chance.
 

Jackson

I like to go outside.
.
Joined
May 31, 2015
Messages
2,118
Indeed. I kind of doubted myself for a while, since it was outside their published range. But the confirmed sighting "west of Lolo" from the article does fit with where I saw it (up on the crest between Hwy 12 and I-90. I guess the moral of the story here is that the maps aren't keeping up with the actual habitat expansion. Amazing to see these critters reclaim their old territory - all we need to do is give them a chance.
That's awesome, and I agree. I'd really like to see them get back into the Uintas too. And wolves too, for that matter.
 

Kmatjhwy

Wilderness Wanderer
Joined
Sep 23, 2016
Messages
409
Good Article! Thanks for Posting!

Hopefully one day soon the population of Grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone Country will meet up with the population of Grizzlies from Northern Montana. And after getting back into the Bitterroots, then they will be able to get back into that River of No Return Country in Central Idaho. The Grizzlies are now thru out the Wind River Range and down into the Wyoming and Salt River Ranges here in Wyoming. Maybe soon they will be down also into the Wasatch Range in Utah. Think it will take awhile for them to get across the Red Desert. But once they do, maybe then into Colorado Rockies. Yea! Go Grizzlies!
 
Last edited:

Kmatjhwy

Wilderness Wanderer
Joined
Sep 23, 2016
Messages
409
Now Rockskipper, have heard of a few sightings of Grizzlies in the Bitterroots also. Years ago was in that Big Hole Country in SW Montana and some of the locals swore there were a few Grizzlies in their country.

Also a big question, a few have believed that just a few Grizzlies could still exist in the South San Juans in SW Colorado. Hope So!

Grizzlies also now extend on to the Northern Plains to over a hundred miles east of Glacier NP in Northern Montana. They have been found also down into the Bighorn Basin near Cody, and East of the Absarokas to near Meeteetsee. Several years ago a Grizzly was caught on camera in the spring near the Popo Agie River outside of Lander, Wy. So they are indeed extending their limits.

From my years of hiking in the Absarokas, thought there were much more Grizzlies then the authorities want to admit to. This is from all the Grizzly tracks, scat, and sign I saw everywhere. And from those years of wandering in the wilderness, I trust Grizzlies and Wolves more then people for I have never been stabbed in the back by a Grizzly or a Wolf. The Bears in the wilds would give me my space with respecting me and in return they desire that we would give them their space and respect them which they deserve.

Wishing Everyone the Best!
 
Last edited:

LarryBoy

Hiker Trash
.
Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
2,141
From my years of hiking in the Absarokas, thought there were much more Grizzlies then the authorities want to admit to. This is from all the Grizzly tracks, scat, and sign I saw everywhere.

It's certainly a crusty local's trope to say that the grizzly population is much higher than the reported figure... but I do tend to agree with you that there can't possibly be that few bears in the ecosystem. I'm sure the wildlife biologists would suspect the same, but of course they deal in hard evidence - tagged ears and such.
 

Kmatjhwy

Wilderness Wanderer
Joined
Sep 23, 2016
Messages
409
LarryBoy, there was an article in the local daily paper here in Jackson this past week on this very issue. It stated that the local IGBC is going to raise the local Yellowstone Grizzlies population estimate to 1000 bears the article said. I thought this was interesting since have always thought there were more then what they were saying. And of course the wildlife biologists have to deal with politics and all that comes with it in this day and age with everything that is going on. Here is one link to this very thing that have found ....

www.powelltribune.com/stories/how-many-grizzlies-are-out-there,28057
 
Last edited:

LarryBoy

Hiker Trash
.
Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
2,141
LarryBoy, there was an article in the local daily paper here in Jackson this past week on this very issue. It stated that the local IGBC is going to raise the local Yellowstone Grizzlies population estimate to 1000 bears the article said. I thought this was interesting since have always thought there were more then what they were saying. And of course the wildlife biologists have to deal with politics and all that comes with it in this day and age with everything that is going on. Here is one link to this very thing that have found ....

www.powelltribune.com/stories/how-many-grizzlies-are-out-there,28057
Interesting article, thanks!
 

scatman

Member
.
Joined
Dec 23, 2013
Messages
1,480
Back in the late 90's they were doing environmental impact statements on recovering grizzly bears in the Bitterroot Ecosystem with the thought of reintroducing 25 grizzlies into central Idaho. At the time, they believed the three wilderness areas could support about 280 bears. I went to two public hearings on reintroducing the bears into those wilderness areas and the meeting in Challis was quite contentious. I had made a motel reservation for the night, and when I went to check in, the gentleman who owned the place said that he was not going to let me stay because of my pro grizzly bear stance. That turned out to be a tense night. Of course, when the new President came into office in 2001, the reintroduction was scuttled. It's good to see that the bears are making their own way back. Even more reason to explore the Frank Church-River of No Return, the Selway-Bitterroot, and the Gospel Hump Wilderness Areas.

IMG_8462.JPG


I tend to believe the estimated numbers of grizzlies for the GYE. There may be a few more bears, but I wouldn't think a lot more.
 

Kmatjhwy

Wilderness Wanderer
Joined
Sep 23, 2016
Messages
409
Scatman, Now I remember this on how they were thinking of reintroducing the bears back into the Bitterroots back then. Too bad it was scuttled back then.
 

LarryBoy

Hiker Trash
.
Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
2,141
Anymore, I treat anything north of the Great Divide Basin/Snake River Plain as grizzly territory. I know the Frank isn't technically part of their known habitat at this moment in time, but things are changing quickly enough that the maps or my information may be out of date, so I just carry bear spray and bear bag every night just to be safe.
 

Outdoor_Fool

Member
.
Joined
Dec 11, 2015
Messages
1,381
When they get established, you and I will take a trip into the wilderness to go observe them.

Good luck with that, @scatman. :)

Don't forget that it's in the Park Service's and Forest Service"s best interest to OVERestimate the numbers as it allows much more flexibility in managing the resources if the numbers are higher, eventually leading to de-listing. Many thought the Park Service was overestimating the numbers in Yellowstone during the 80's - 2000's. Luckily it was not up to them to decide about de-listing. The USFWS relied on the best data coming from universities and other conservation groups. Population biologists tend to use conservative estimates, especially when dealing with a species such as bears that are so difficult to quantify. The error bars on bear population estimates are typically quite large.

I was working as a seasonal on the Bitterroot NF when the work began on the grizzly re-introduction into the Selway-Bitterroot/Frank Church - RONR Wilderness areas. I was shocked at the negative reaction by Forest Service employees whose main concern was how this would tie their hands in regards to managing the forest, even in the wilderness areas. Most of the locals were adamantly against it, which wasn't too surprising.

I talked with one regional biologist in Missoula who was pretty convinced there were at least a handful of grizzlies still roaming central Idaho, with good reason. I worked in remote areas of both wilderness areas in the early to mid- 90's and never saw any sign of grizzly activity, but it's huge country and I believe that any remaining griz in that country had learned to limit their exposure to humans. I personally think that re-introduction there will succeed to some extent but overall, until healthy salmon runs are returned to the area's rivers, the carrying capacity won't be all that great. There are some localized areas that will support a higher density, but a lot of that country is pretty lean.

Unfortunately the best grizzly country is occupied by humans already. Hopefully there is still enough wild country to keep them around a while longer.
 

Bob

Trailmaster
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Messages
2,452
Oh Bob, I know you want to see the bears back in central Idaho. :) When they get established, you and I will take a trip into the wilderness to go observe them. :thumbsup:
We can go anytime.......
 

Similar threads

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Top