Benefits outweigh risks of grizzlies in North Cascades

After moving back to the Pascific Northwest, I began a 40-year long hiking, backpacking and horse packing into the Cascades and Olympics, back when no one used bear cans to put their food in.

We often saw bear scat but only had black bear encounters infrequently. It can be quite startling but my experience was that the last I saw of the bear was his rear end as he fled to safety. I also came across a bear while road biking to Lake Stevens. I know these were my experiences, but often talked to other hikers who had essentially the same experience.

When I visited a friend in Kleena Kleene, British Columbia, I was told never to leave the house without a bear spray; holsters were at the back door. Grizzlies are often in this area but people have accommodated their lives to live with grizzlies. No one thought the solution was to eradicate them.

There is a reason that nature put apex predators on this earth. So few people hike into what I call deep woods I wonder why they are so frightened of a perceived threat. If people who live in a populated area can live with grizzlies, where has our common sense fled? Reading all the data and articles I can’t help but wonder how we became such a fearful population of an event that might happen.

Tourists spend money to see grizzlies in the wild and I’m not proposing that this would be an option here in Washington. Anyone who has seen majestic wild animals anywhere in the world is thrilled as it happens so little. Give grizzlies a chance.

Joyce Renee Lewis

Mukilteo

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