Thursday, August 09, 2007

Washington Cascade Grizzlies

Grizzly bears in the North Cascades of WA state have been in the news lately, both the monthly magazine of the Washington Trail Association and Conservation Northwest have had articles about grizzly recovery. Because I do a lot of hiking and camping in the north Cascades, I am very interested in this subject. That there are grizzlies in the north Cascades is not new to me, I've known for years a few grizzlies wandered through if not lived full time there. A couple of acquaintances have thought they had seen grizzlies at different times and gave a description more credible than a 'big brown bear'.

I'm not disturbed by the presense of grizzlies in my prime hiking and camping areas. I hike and camp every year in Yellowstone and/or Glacier NPs where grizzly concentrations are much higher. Also, I grew up and learned to hike and camp in far northern Idaho and am comfortable with the possibility of encountering one. I don't take the same precautions locally as I do in Yellowstone or Glacier, I don't make lots of noise when hiking or carry my bear spray. I probably would do so if I were in an area with a known grizzly 'frequenting the area' (NP speak for a bear has been seen in area).

Having local grizzlies encourages me to keep a very clean camp, something I should do anyway to minimize visits by black bear and other animals. Skunks are not fun to have in your campsite and provide good motivation to keep it clean. Knowing there might be a grizzly causes me to be more alert while hiking in several ways, to look for bear sign and to be aware of what is around me. Because of this, I notice things, including animals, I might not otherwise be aware of. I think having grizzlies in the local mountains is a good thing.



At 10/8/07 07:04, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Take your bear spray when you hike in the Cascades. You may just run into a bear. All they need is a good excuse to kill whats left of the bears there. Don't give them that excuse.


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