Grizzly West: A Failed Attempt to Reintroduce Grizzly Bears in the Mountain West

By Michael J. Dax | Go to book overview

Introduction

On a midsummer’s morning in 2012, I awoke to a sunny but cool weekend day. The weather was perfect for a hike, so I pointed my car west out of Missoula onto Interstate 90. After a short distance, I exited at the Ninemile Ranger Station, a historic Forest Service outpost that has been preserved in its original state from the 1930s and is open for guided tours. I passed by the row of neat white bungalows, and for the next forty-five minutes bumped my Subaru Outback slowly up the steep, rutted, single-track Forest Service road three thousand vertical feet upward. The U.S. Forest Service built the road nearly a hundred years earlier so logging trucks could transport cut trees to lumber mills, but today the road sees far more sporty, all-terrain vehicles carrying weekend recreationists than it does logging trucks.

Eventually, as I approached the top of the ridgeline, the discreet pullout mentioned in my guidebook appeared, and I parked my car. After the dust from the road settled, I strapped on the new hiking boots I had bought a few days earlier at REI and took off into the beckoning forest. My hike began under a thick, lush cover. Mountain heather blanketed the ground, and I dodged remnant patches of snow along the trail. After a few miles, the trees gave way to a series of steep boulder fields, which were underlined by clumps of bear grass and divided by intermittent stands of whitebark pine trees. The trail eventually directed me up one of the boulder fields, and

-1-

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Grizzly West: A Failed Attempt to Reintroduce Grizzly Bears in the Mountain West
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vi
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Abbreviations x
  • Introduction 1
  • 1- Grizzly Americana 17
  • 2- Endangered Species, Environmental Politics, and the American West 45
  • 3- Wolf Recovery Sets the Stage 69
  • 4- The Advent of the Roots Coalition and the Environmental Impact Statement 91
  • 5- Environmental Resistance 115
  • 6- Ethical Controversies and the Draft Environmental Impact Statement 137
  • 7- The Divided West 165
  • 8- Triumph and Collapse 187
  • Conclusion 217
  • Notes 227
  • Bibliography 265
  • Index 277
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