GRIZZLY TIMES ESSAYS
Click on the images below to view and download essays
Welcome to Grizzly Times’ new essay series! We launched this series to provide more detailed analyses than can be provided by blogs and other pages featuring grizzly-related topics that we care deeply about. At a time when the news media offers ever-briefer and more sensationalized coverage of complex environmental issues, we thought that now is important than ever to do the opposite: go deep. Recognizing that no writer is unbiased, we try to explain where we are coming from, and why. We also provide references so you can delve deeper into these topics on your own.
Please let us know what you think – and if you like them, we hope you will share with your friends!
Fighting for an Imperiled Forest
This essay by Louisa Willcox tracks the inspiring shared journey of researchers and citizen scientists in their efforts to protect the West’s iconic and imperiled whitebark pine forests—a journey that led the Fish and Wildlife Service in 2020 to propose protections for this species under the Endangered Species Act. Whitebark pine forests are unique because they create and maintain the high-elevation ecosystems where they grow—sustaining healthy watersheds and species as diverse as 600-pound grizzly bears and tiny voles. But whitebark pine are imperiled because of warming temperatures, a nonnative fungal pathogen, and an unprecedented outbreak of native mountain pine beetles. In response to an outbreak of beetles in Greater Yellowstone that began during the early 2000s, a group of concerned citizens and scientists surveyed the entire ecosystem to document the health of these forests, spread the word about why they matter, and inform a petition to list whitebark pine under the Endangered Species Act. At this time of unprecedented divisiveness and self-centeredness, the Clan of the Whitebark Pine showed what can happen when a group pulls together to pursue a larger, altruistic purpose – none more noble than protecting these magnificent but endangered forests.
Problems & Pathologies of State Wildlife Management
These timely essays by David Mattson use recent research into how people value wildlife to explore connections among values, hunting, state management, political orientations, geopolitics, and recent efforts by politicians from Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho to remove Endangered Species Act protections for grizzly bears in the contiguous United States. The essays concludes by emphasizing the extent to which management of both grizzly bears and wolves occurs in a highly toxic regional environment typified by wildlife managers who channel the interests of conservative politicians and non-Hispanic white hunters who prize the domination and lethal use of wild animals. This configuration, codified in state institutions of wildlife management, mirrors the recent political empowerment of those who seek to perpetuate the privileged social and political status of non-Hispanic white men to the detriment of women, people of color, Hispanics, and people with more inclusive worldviews--all of whom are also currently disenfranchised from state management of wildlife.
Grand Teton Matriarch 399 Inspires New Coexistence Partnership
This essay by Louisa Willcox recounts the history and lessons of an effort in Teton County, Wyoming, that successfully resulted in the implementation of county rules mandating that residents employ bear-resistant garbage containers and otherwise ensure that human-associated attractants such as bird feeders, pet food, and fruit on residential trees don't lead to conflicts with bears. A history of increasing conflicts between people and grizzly bears, many the descendents of Jackson Hole's famous matriarch 399, inspired local residents to create a grassroots movement promoting the passage of new county regulations. Their efforts were matched by the skill and expertise of local elected officials, support from local business-owners, and the expertise and funding of a local environmental group to create a powerful coalition. This case study highlights numerous key lessons, including the importance of motivated and visionary private citizens, supportive and skillful government officials, financial resources, engagement by an agile and courageous environmental group, and the importance of skillful, contextual messaging.