Bullock to establish grizzly advisory council

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A grizzly bear pauses as it digs up a stump in a driving snow in Glacier National Park in this Hungry Horse News file photo.

Hungry Horse News

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock recently announced that he will establish a Grizzly Bear Advisory Council to help initiate a statewide discussion on grizzly bear management, conservation and recovery.

The Council will be selected through an application process that ends April 12.

“The recovery of grizzly bears in the Northern Continental Divide and Greater Yellowstone ecosystems is a great conservation success. Still, official federal delisting has yet to come to fruition,” Bullock wrote in a memo to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Director Martha Williams.

Bullock said it’s time for the state to take a more active role in grizzly bear matters.

“Legal uncertainty has created a void requiring our leadership,” Bullock said. “As bears continue to expand in numbers and habitat, we must identify durable and inclusive strategies to address current issues and prepare for the future. This advisory council represents a key step toward Montana embracing the tremendous responsibility and opportunity of long-term grizzly bear recovery and management.”

Bullock said the Grizzly Bear Advisory Council will be tasked with considering broad strategic objectives, such as:

Maintaining and enhancing human safety;

Ensuring a healthy and sustainable grizzly bear population;

Improving timely and effective response to conflicts involving grizzly bears;

Engaging all partners in grizzly-related outreach and conflict prevention; and

Improving intergovernmental, interagency, and tribal coordination.

The council will also look at hunting, education and future sustainability of the population.

Bullock said he is looking for a broad cross-section of interests to serve on the Council, including livestock producers, wildlife enthusiasts, conservation groups, hunters, community leaders, Tribal Nation representatives and outdoor industry professionals.

Council application information can be found online at http://fwp.mt.gov/fishAndWildlife/species/grizzlyBear/default.html.

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