An environmental impact statement (EIS) is now available on the federal proposal to reintroduce grizzly bears into the North Cascades. 

The statement released Thursday evaluates the impacts of a range of approaches for restoring the grizzly bear to the North Cascades Ecosystem. 

Plans call for three to seven grizzly bears to be brought into the ecosystem annually over the next five to 10 years.  

It’s estimated there will eventually be approximately 200 grizzly bears within 60 to 100 years.  

The environmental impact statement is not a final decision on reintroducing the bears. That finding will be released within the next 30 days. 

The final EIS was issued by the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. 

According to the two federal agencies, the population of grizzly bears in the North Cascades was decimated through direct killing by humans, with the last sighting occurring in 1996.  

The North Cascades Recovery Zone targeted for grizzly bear reintroduction covers about 13,500 square miles of land and includes most of Chelan County stretching into British Columbia.  

The U.S. portion covers 9,800 square miles, a land mass larger than the state of New Jersey. 

Chelan County commissioners have long been vocal in their opposition to grizzly bear reintroduction. As well, 4th District Republican Congressman Dan Newhouse filed a bill to block the reintroduction of the bears last October.

Grizzly Bear Attacks and Kills Young Bison, Yellowstone National Park

Grizzly Bear Attacks and Kills Young Bison, Yellowstone National Park

Gallery Credit: Tammie Toren

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