Norton may halt grizzly intro plans for Idaho, Montana


Mar 11, 2001
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Norton To Shelve Plans for Bears

WASHINGTON (AP) - Interior Secretary Gale Norton intends to set aside a Clinton-era plan to reintroduce grizzly bears into the Idaho and Montana wilderness, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

For months, some state officials and frightened residents have battled to keep America's largest predators away from their rural communities.

The decision reflects Norton's determination to cooperate with governors such as Dirk Kempthorne of Idaho, a Republican who sued to stop the plan two days before President Bush (news - web sites) took office.

Kempthorne has denounced the Clinton administration for trying to force ``massive, flesh-eating carnivores into Idaho.''

Norton's aides told the Post she remains committed to expanding the bear populations in Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park.

Grizzly bears have roamed western North America for 15,000 years and they are still abundant in Alaska and Canada. But there are only about 1,200 grizzlies left in the lower 48 states, most of them at Yellowstone, Glacier and the Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana. About 98 percent of the bears have been driven off their original territory.

The bears have become notorious for their infrequent, but sometimes violent, encounters with people.

Conservationists view the issue as a test of Norton's commitment to protecting rare species in the face of pressure.

jerry d

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Mar 17, 2001
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My wife is from Montana and over the years I have become friends with many people there. I can almost assure the conservationist that are pushing this plan that it will be a waste to place these bears in N.W. Montana.

The people in that part of Montana are adamantly opposed to this plan and the bears will probably be shot on sight.

These people are close nit, have a code of silence and a 3S rule(shoot-shovel-shutup).

Most also feel those living south of the Oregon border are a bunch of loonies attempting to push their standards and way of life on the State of Montana. If you go there cover your Calif. license plate with mud and pray that rain doesn't wash it off, or, be fortunate like me and marry into the region. Then it's like "old home week" with the good ol' boys there.

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