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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Nature Writer Rick Bass has lived in the Yaak of Northern Montana virtually his entire adult life and has written extensively about the "hanging on to dear life" remnant Grizzly population of this region............Rick would heartily agree with Mike Garrity(Exec. Dir. of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies) assessment that the County Commissioners who assert that the "YAAK GRIZ ARE RECOVERED IN FULL'' are spouting propaganda, all in the name of more subsidized commercial logging and road-building on federal public lands in the Kootenai National Forest in Lincoln County.............. More subsidized logging means more profit for private companies that operate in Lincoln County and more dead grizzly bears.................And the bottom line, when looked at without bias is that the Yaak population is struggling to get to the 100 Bear target population that the USFW Service set for recovery..........The FWS itself has stated that if Bears were not brought in from Glacier National Park, the Cabinet Mountain Griz population would have already gone extinct...............Is anyone connected with business interests capable of candor in this discussion???????????

Cabinet-Yaak Grizzlies nowhere near recovered

January 19, 2015 6:15 am  •  

The Dec. 25 opinion in the Missoulian from Lincoln County commissioners Anthony J. Berget, Gregory L. Larson and Mark Peck argues that the Alliance for the Wild Rockies used incorrect population numbers to support its statement in favor of listing and protecting the Cabinet-Yaak grizzly bear as an endangered species.

To be clear, the commissioners have a vested interest in denying protections to these embattled grizzly bears. Fewer protections for grizzlies means more subsidized commercial logging and road-building on our federal public lands on the Kootenai National Forest in Lincoln County. More subsidized logging means more profit for private companies that operate in Lincoln County and more dead grizzly bears.
The Lincoln County commissioners are certainly entitled to their biases and profit motivations, but let's be clear on the facts.
The opinion represented that there were "no known mortalities in 2014" and that there is an "improving population trajectory." To the contrary, there was at least one documented mortality in 2014, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service. The mortality target for this population is zero every year until it reaches a population of 100 bears. The population is failing that target.
Additionally, there is no published evidence that the population is increasing. The Kendall United States Geological Survey study did not state this. Even the most recent Fish and Wildlife Service's annual monitoring report, published in 2014 for the 2013 monitoring year, says that there is a 50 percent probability that the population is declining, the mortality rate has tripled and the survival rate has decreased compared to the monitoring period from 1982-1998, and the population is currently failing all recovery targets. The report also notes a "decline in long term population trend" beginning in 1999.
In contrast to the method used by the Kendall USGS study, the FWS's annual monitoring reports used a model to estimate 47 bears in the 2008 report, 42 bears in the 2009 report, 41 bears in the 2010 report, 42 bears in the 2011 report, 37 bears in the 2012 report, and 29 bears in the 2013 report. This is a declining trajectory, not an increasing trajectory.
The opinion states that there is a minimum of 42 bears, according to the USGS Kendall study, and that there are two documented female bears who had cubs, but the opinion provides no context for either of these statements. A population of 42 bears still miserably fails to meet the FWS's 100-bear minimum population for recovery. To only document two female bears having cubs out of the entire population miserably fails to meet the FWS's minimum target of six females documented with cubs every year.
In sum, using the data from the FWS's own reports, this grizzly bear population is in major trouble. Even FWS admits that if it didn't artificially truck in bears from the Glacier Park population, the population in the Cabinet Mountains would be extinct already. FWS admits that its statements about population trends are 90 percent based on data from the Yaak River portion of the population. So how would these numbers change if the agency added in the data from the portion of the population that is really in trouble — the Cabinet Mountains portion?
A population that requires the government to capture, drug and truck in bears from other areas is not a population heading toward recovery. It is a population that is precariously teetering on the brink of extinction. The profit motivation to increase taxpayer-subsidized logging on the Kootenai National Forest should not be permitted to drive this bear into extinction. The law does not allow this, and as responsible public citizens who care about the future of this planet, we also should not allow this.
Mike Garrity is executive director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies.


Bass was born in Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.,[1] the son of a geologist, and he studied petroleum geology at Utah State University. He grew up in Houston, and started writing short stories on his lunch breaks while working as a petroleum geologist in Jackson, Mississippi. In 1987, he moved with his wife, the artist Elizabeth Hughes Bass, to the remote Yaak Valley, where he works to protect his adopted home from roads and logging. Rick serves on the board of both the Yaak Valley Forest Council and Round River Conservation Studies. In 2011 Rick moved from the Yaak area of Montana to Missoula, Montana. He continues to give readings, write, and teach around the country and world. He lives in Montana with his family.

Rick Bass’ fiction has received O. Henry Awards, numerous Pushcart Prizes, awards from the Texas Institute of Letters (in fiction, creative nonfiction, and journalism categories), fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lyndhurst Foundation, the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters, a Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award, nominations for Pacific Northwest Booksellers Awards, and a Pen/Nelson Algren Special Citation, which was judged by Robert Penn Warren, and a General Electric Younger Writer’s Award. He has had numerous stories anthologized in Best American Short Stories: The Year’s Best. The Wild Marsh: Four Seasons At Home in Montana (Houghton Mifflin/Harcourt), a book about fathering daughters in the wilderness, has been excerpted in O, The Oprah Magazine.

 His nonfiction has been anthologized in Best American Spiritual Writing, Best Spiritual Writing, and Best American Travel Writing, and Best American Science Writing.Various of his books have been named New York Times as well as Los Angeles Times Notable Books of the Year, and a New York Times Best Book of the Year. A collection of short fiction, The Hermit’s Story, was named a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year, and another collection, The Lives of Rocks, was a finalist for the prestigious Story Prize, as well as a Best Book of the Year by the Rocky Mountain News. His most recent nonfiction book, Why I Came West, was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award. He is the recipient of a 2011 Montana Arts Council Artist’s Innovation Award.

His stories, articles and essays have appeared in The Paris Review, The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Narrative, Men’s Journal, Esquire, Gentlemen’s Quarterly, Harper’s, New York Times Sunday Magazine, Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, Boston Globe, the Washington Post, Tin House, Zoetrope, Orion, and numerous other periodicals. He has served as a contributing editor to Audubon, OnEarth, Field & Stream, Big Sky Journal, and Sports Afield, and currently writes a regular column for Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, as well as for an online hunting magazine, Contemporary Sportsman.


“Rick Bass is a national treasure.”—Carl Hiassen

“Probably no American writer since Hemingway has written about man-in-nature more beautifully or powerfully than Rick Bass.”—Dallas Morning News, reviewing short fiction collection, The Hermit’s Story.

“Bass’s language glistens with the beauty of the landscape he evokes…His narration is pitch-perfect, and his writing so full of empathy for people and places that each story is a new revelation.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“Rick Bass puts his talent as a nature writer to terrific use…His ability to map the inner lives of his characters is equally impressive.”—New York Times Book Review, on The Hermit’s Story.

“One of this country’s most intelligent and sensitive short story writers.”--New York Times Book Review

“Once again…Rick Bass draws us into his magical human worlds, rendered urgently by a hypnotic prose that tracks a parallel and untamed natural world, often with a trace of loss and always patrolled by unmistakable decency. He is a master of this form…”—Doug Peacock

“I’d choose Rick Bass over just about any other writer at work today.”—Christopher Tilghman, Los Angeles Times.

“Bass captures quiet human truths amidst his astonishing portraits of life in the wilderness.”—People Magazine

“Rick Bass is one of a dwindling handful of American fiction writers still celebrating the importance of place, the natural world, and the struggle of a few brave souls to live and work respectfully in what’s left of our western wilderness…The Lives of Rocks is his most lyrical and powerful book to date…a masterwork.”—Howard Frank Mosher

“Bass’s magnificent account of a year of life in the Yaak [The Wild Marsh] will leave you yearning for all the wonders of nature. This book could be a life-changer.”—Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods

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