North Cascades Ecosystem

The North Cascades Ecosystem includes more than 9,000 square miles of Washington and British Columbia, but only a small grizzly population with few to none south of Canada.

Vital Ground Partner Projects in the North Cascades:
• 1 conflict reduction partnership
• 1 public education partnership

Grizzlies in the North Cascades:
• Current estimates do not reveal a stable population south of Canada, with only 5-10 bears periodically crossing the border
• Habitat cores include North Cascades National Park, E.C. Manning and Skagit Valley provincial parks, and large portions of Mount Baker-Snoqualmie and Okanogan-Wenatchee national forests
• Communities in or adjacent to include: Seattle, Redmond, Everett, Bellingham, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Twisp, Chelan, and Wenatchee

Grizzly Augmentation Film

Conservation Partner: Washington National Parks Fund
Partnership Type: Conflict Reduction
Vital Ground since: 2015

Moving grizzly bears is no easy task—physically or politically. When biologists relocate an animal from a stable population to a struggling one, they call it augmentation. When it comes to grizzlies, wildlife managers have occasionally used the process to genetically bolster the small Cabinet-Yaak bear population. Long outlawed in Washington State, augmentation is now under reconsideration as part of a proposal to return a resident grizzly population to the North Cascades Ecosystem. Washington’s National Park Fund partnered with ecologist, conservationist and film producer Chris Morgan to tell the story of grizzly augmentation in northwest Montana as a primer for Washingtonians on the potential that this recovery method holds for the Evergreen State. Chris’ short, compelling film prioritizes the value of communities coming together to help an iconic native species. It’s just the kind of informative storytelling we want—and need—to support.

Bear Aware Community Outreach

Conservation Partner: Western Wildlife Outreach
Partnership Type: Conflict Reduction
Vital Ground since: 2014

Full of prime historic grizzly habitat and anchored by a national park, the North Cascades Ecosystem remains an untapped possibility when it comes to grizzly bear recovery in the Lower 48. With no resident population documented, returning grizzlies to the area would likely involve transporting bears from elsewhere then carefully monitoring population health. Equally important will be social tolerance within the human communities surrounding the North Cascades, where even a few unnecessary grizzly mortalities could doom recovery efforts. That’s why we were eager to support Western Wildlife Outreach, a small Washington nonprofit working to educate communities on bear safety and the potential for grizzly recovery in the North Cascades. From school visits to sanitation and bear spray partnerships, we’re with WWO every step of the way.

Other Conservation Partner Projects

in Grizzly Recovery Ecosystems

Vital Ground works to protect and restore habitat for wild grizzly populations in ecosystems where the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has designated grizzly bear recovery zones and where state wildlife management agencies have placed an emphasis on conserving the species.