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Northern Rockies Grizzly Bears Win One in Court

A federal judge has rejected a U.S. Forest Service plan to manage roads in habitat for two critically imperiled grizzly bear populations in northwest Montana, northern Idaho and northeast Washington.

Victory

Bad News for Bears


In the remote mountains of Montana, Idaho, and Washington live two small, isolated populations of grizzly bears. How small? Optimistically, there might be a mere 40 bears in each group. These great bears are among the last of their kind in the continental United States, where 99 percent have been wiped out by humans.


Roads to Nowhere


Unfortunately, the remaining habitat for these grizzlies is laced with 8,500 miles of old logging roads. This road system allows humans to penetrate deep into bear habitat, which all too often leads to dead bears. The U.S. Forest Service is supposed to manage these roads in a way that protects the grizzlies, but their most recent plan spelled doom by leaving open 95% of the roads. Earthjustice sued the Forest Service to get a better shake for the bears.


More Room to Roam?


A federal judge agreed and sent the Forest Service back to the drawing board to craft a new plan – this time, while considering scientific evidence. Earthjustice will be watching closely to make sure the Forest Service develops a plan giving the last of these great bears a fighting chance for survival.

Office:  Northern Rockies
Program Area:  The Wild
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