Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, September 28, 2023


Andrea Zaccardi, (303) 854-7748,

Federal Plan Could Restore Grizzly Bears to Washington’s North Cascades

Proposal Follows Successful Lawsuit Against Trump Administration’s Termination of Previous Plan

SEDRO-WOOLLEY, Wash.— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service released a draft plan today analyzing options to restore grizzly bears to the North Cascades in Washington. This step follows the Center for Biological Diversity’s successful litigation challenging the Trump administration’s 2020 termination of a previous restoration plan.

“I’m delighted to see that a plan to restore grizzly bears to the North Cascades is moving forward,” said Andrea Zaccardi, carnivore conservation legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Grizzly bears once thrived in the North Cascades, and this is a good step toward bringing grizzlies back to this vast, wild area where they clearly belong.”

The North Cascades is one of the largest wild areas in the lower 48 states, encompassing more than 95,000 square miles in north-central Washington centered on North Cascades National Park. It also includes large areas of surrounding national forest.

Under the options for restoration contained in today’s draft plan, the agencies would aim to release three to seven grizzly bears per year for five to 10 years to achieve an initial population of 25 bears. The long-term goal is to restore a self-sustaining population of 200 bears within approximately 60 to 100 years.

Today’s plan comes on the heels of a successful Center lawsuit that challenged the Trump administration’s termination of a previous restoration plan. That plan was nearly finalized when it was suddenly cancelled without explanation.

In November of 2022, following the Center’s lawsuit, the Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service jointly published their notice of intent to reinitiate preparation of a plan to restore grizzly bears to the North Cascades.

Today approximately 2,000 grizzlies are found in four isolated populations in the northern Rocky Mountains. The North Cascades represents one of six primary recovery areas identified by the Fish and Wildlife Service. A sustainable population there is necessary for grizzly bear recovery in the contiguous United States.

Comments are due on today’s draft analysis by Nov. 13, 2023.

Female Grizzly Eating Grass. Credit: Terry Tollefsbol/NPS. Image is available for media use.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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