Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) envisions a future with a secure, recovered population of grizzly bears in western Montana that includes core populations of 500 or more grizzly bears in the Northern Continental Divide area and 90‐125 grizzly bears in the Cabinet‐Yaak area. We envision grizzly bear management programs throughout western Montana that are similar to other resident species and which maintain effective biological connections between these two core areas and linkage of these areas with populations to the north in Canada and to potential habitat in the Bitterroot area to the south. It is our vision that one day the populations in western Montana will also interact with the existing population in the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA).
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) has released a management plan and final programmatic environmental impact statement (EIS) for grizzly bears in 17 counties located in western Montana. The plan was developed to address the future of grizzly bear management in western Montana outside the Greater Yellowstone Area. It focuses on grizzly bear populations or potential populations in the Northern Continental Divide, Cabinet-Yaak, and Bitterroot Ecosystems, as well as surrounding areas. In response to an increase in the number and distribution of bears in western Montana, FWP developed the programmatic EIS to evaluate current management programs and ensure the future success of grizzly bear conservation.
The grizzly bear's historic range covered much of North America from the plains westward to California and from central Mexico north through Canada and Alaska. Today, the grizzly is found in only about 2% of its original range in the lower 48 states. [Learn more]
Currently, south of Canada, there are five grizzly bear subpopulations in Wyoming, Washington, Idaho, and Montana. Grizzlies are difficult to survey, yet it is generally agreed there are more than 500 in the northwest Montana Rockies, about 600 in and around Yellowstone National Park, about 50 in the Selkirk Mountains of northern Idaho and northeastern Washington, and 30 to 40 in the Cabinet-Yaak area of northern Idaho and western Montana. [Learn more]