Watch the in-depth King 5 news coverage of the grizzly bear survey in the North Cascades. Scientists will set up 75-100 hair snags and a few dozen remote cameras that cover three areas in Washington State, north of Highway 20, between Highway 20 and Highway 2, and between Highway 2 and Interstate 90, all within the 9,565 square miles of prime habitat for recovering grizzlies. Approximately $90,000 in grants-mainly from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service but also from the U.S. Forest Service-will fund the project.
Although the last grizzly bear in the Cascades was killed in the 1960’s, there have been confirmed reports of grizzly bears since that time. In fact, the last confirmed grizzly sighting was in 1996 in the Glacier Peak Wilderness area. Bill Gaines, wildlife biologist for the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, states there was a “pretty good” grizzly sighting in the Chiwawa river Valley north of Lake Wenatchee in the fall of 2008.
We are excited for confirmation of grizzlies in the Cascade mountains but the Grizzly Bear Outreach Project also realizes if no evidence is found, it does not mean grizzlies are not out there. Hair snags and remote cameras are not foolproof when it comes to documenting the presence of grizzly bears.