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A grizzly bear in a grassy field.

About FWP Grizzly Bear Advisory Council


The Latest on the GBAC

  • Final Report: Recommendations and Input on the Future of Grizzly Bear Management and Conservation in Montana Download 
  • Grizzly Bear Advisory Council FAQs Download 
  • Executive Order Download 

Most Recent Meeting

The GBAC met on August 19,2020 via Remote Video Conference.  Download the meeting agenda and click below to watch the video.

Watch Now 

About the Council

Members of the Governor's Grizzly Bear Advisory Council

Grizzly bear populations continue to expand in Montana, including into some areas that they have not occupied for decades. There are also more people living, working and recreating in bear country, which means that management challenges and conflicts are increasing in some places, prompting a need for timely solutions. In April 2019, Montana Governor Steve Bullock called for a Grizzly Bear Advisory Council (GBAC) to address these challenges and to help set a long-term vision for bear management and conservation in Montana. He felt that a citizen council, comprised of people that hold diverse viewpoints, was the best approach for finding balanced recommendations. Over 150 people applied, and 18 were appointed to serve as volunteer council members.

The Council will be tasked with considering broad strategic objectives, such as:

  • Maintaining and enhancing human safety
  • Ensuring a healthy and sustainable grizzly bear population
  • Improving timely and effective response to conflicts involving grizzly bears
  • Engaging all partners in grizzly-related outreach and conflict prevention
  • Improving intergovernmental, interagency, and tribal coordination

Public Input for the Governor's Grizzly Bear Advisory Council

The Governor's Grizzly Bear Advisory accepted public input through the GBAC website and email from July 2019 through August 2020. Due to the large number of comments submitted, the input is collected here in separate files.

Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative

Input submitted via email on July 16, 2020

 

Wyoming Wildlife Advocates

Input submitted via email on Aug. 3, 2020

 

Wildlife Recreation & Tourism Businesses

Input submitted via email on March 26, 2020

 

Wild Earth Guardians Members & Supporters

Input submitted via email on July 20, 2020

 

Wild Earth Guardians Attached Signatures

Input submitted via email on July 20, 2020

 

Wild Earth Guardians

Input submitted via email on Aug. 5, 2020

 

Western Watersheds Project

Input submitted via email on Aug. 4, 2020

 

The Center for Large Landscape Conservation Input on Wildlife Connectivity

Input submitted via email

 

Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, Western Watersheds Project, Wyoming Wildlife Advocates, Wild Earth Guardians, The Humane Society of the United States

Input submitted via email on July 8, 2020

 

Sierra Club Partial Analysis of Public Comments

Input submitted via email on Aug. 4, 2020

 

Sierra Club Final Comments

Input submitted via email on July 30, 2020

 

Sierra Club

Input submitted via email on July 20, 2020

 

People and Carnivores

Input submitted via email on July 16, 2020

 

Online Comments, May 27-August 31, 2020

Comments submitted through the GBAC website from May 27-August 31, 2020.

 

Online Comments, July 2019-April 2020

Comments submitted through the GBAC website from July 2019-April 2020

 

Online Comments, April 8-20, 2020

Comments submitted through the GBAC website from April 8-20, 2020

 

Online Comments, April 28-May 27, 2020

Comments submitted through the GBAC website from July 2019-April 2020

 

Online Comments, April 24-27, 2020

Comments submitted through the GBAC website from April 24-27, 2020

 

Online Comments, April 23, 2020

Comments submitted through the GBAC website on April 23, 2020.

 

Online Comments, April 22, 2020

Comments submitted through the GBAC website on April 22, 2020

 

Online Comments, April 22 (5), 2020

Comments submitted through the GBAC website on April 22, 2020.

 

Online Comments, April 22 (4), 2020

Comments submitted through the GBAC website on April 22, 2020.

 

Online Comments, April 22 (3), 2020

Comments submitted through the GBAC website on April 22, 2020.

 

Online Comments, April 22 (2), 2020

Comments submitted through the GBAC website on April 22, 2020

 

Online Comments, April 20-21, 2020

Comments submitted through the GBAC website from April 20-21, 2020

 

Natural Resources Defense Council re: Hunting Grizzly Bears in Montana

Input submitted via email on April 8, 2020

 

Natural Resources Defense Council Member Comments re: Hunting Grizzly Bears in Montana

Input submitted via email on April 8, 2020

 

Montana Bicycle Guild

Input submitted via email

 

Mineral County Board of Commissioners Re: Final Recommendations

Input submitted via email in August

 

Mineral County Board of Commissioners Comments and Recommendations

Input submitted via email on June 7, 2020

 

Mike Bader

Input submitted via email on March 25, 2020

 

Linkage Zones, Is It Possible for Grizzly Bears to Move From One Recovery Ecosystem to Another?

Document submitted via email

 

Lew Melby

Input submitted via email on July 28, 2020

 

Glacier-Two Medicine Alliance

Input submitted via email on Aug. 2, 2020

 

Gallatin Wildlife Association re: Hunting Grizzly Bears in Montana

Input submitted via email on May 7, 2020

 

Gallatin Wildlife Association re: Future of Grizzly Bears in Montana

Input submitted via email on Aug. 11, 2020

 

Flathead-Lolo-Bitterroot Citizen Task Force, Analysis of Road Density and Grizzly Bears in the Ninemile Demographic Connectivity Area

Input submitted via email, May 2020

 

David Mattson, The Status of the Grizzly Bear and Conservation of Biological Diversity in the Northern Rocky Mountains

Input submitted via email

 

David Mattson re: Social Carrying Capacity for Grizzly Bears

Input submitted via email on April 15, 2020

 

David Mattson re: Efficacies & Effects of Sport Hunting Grizzly Bears

Input submitted via email in April 2020

 

Claudia Narcisco Comments on the Role of Hunting in Grizzly Bear Management

Input submitted via email

 

Claudia Narcisco Comments After July Meeting

Input submitted via email on July 21, 2020

 

Chris Servheen Comments on Grizzly Bear Hunting

Input submitted via email in April 2020

 

Center for Biological Diversity Final Comments

Input submitted via email on Aug. 3, 2020

 

Center for Biological Diversity Comments re: Grizzly Bear Trophy Hunting (2)

Input submitted via email

 

Center for Biological Diversity Comments re: Grizzly Bear Trophy Hunting

Input submitted via email

 

Boone & Crockett Club

Input submitted via email on July 22, 2020

 

Analysis of Public Comments on GBAC Recommendations

Analysis of Public Comments on GBAC Recommendations

Past Meetings

 

Date

Location

Agendas

Minutes/Video

Presentations

October 2019

East Helena

Agenda 

» Minutes 

» October presentations

November 2019

Bozeman

Agenda 

» Minutes 

» Video: Day 1
» Video: Day 2

» November presentations

December 2019

Missoula

Agenda 

» Minutes 

» December presentations

January 2020

Polson

Agenda 

» Minutes 

» Emerging Ideas and Recommendations 

» January presentations

February 2020

Libby

Agenda 

» Minutes: TBA

» Emerging Ideas 

» February presentations

March 2020

Remote Video Conference

Agenda 

» Video: Day 1
» Video: Day 2

» First Draft of Skeletal Framework 

N/A

April 9, 2020

Remote Video Conference

Agenda 

» Video: Part 1
» Video: Part 2

» April 9 presentations

April 17, 2020

Remote Video Conference

Agenda 

» Video

» April 17 presentations

April 24, 2020

Remote Video Conference

Agenda 

» Video

» April 24 Presentations

May 11-13, 2020

Remote Video Conference

Agenda 

» Video: Day 1
» Video: Day 2
» Video: Day 3

» May 11-13 Presentations

May 26, 2020

Remote Video Conference

Agenda 

» Video

» Vision Discussion Summary 

N/A

June 8-9, 2020

Helena and Remote Video Conference

Agenda 

» Video: Day 1
» Video: Day 2

» Draft Ideas & Recommendations (6/6/20) 

N/A

July 21-22, 2020

Helena and Remote Video Conference

Agenda 

» Video: Day 1
» Video: Day 2

» Consolidated DRAFT Recommendations (7/17/20) 

» Consolidated DRAFT Recommendations (7/24/20) 

N/A

 

August 5, 2020

Helena and Remote Video Conference

» Agenda 

» Video 

» Consolidated Recommendations, Guidelines 

» Analysis of Public Comments on GBAC Recommendations 

N/A

August 19, 2020

Remote Video Conference

» Agenda 

» Video 

» GBAC Draft Report Recommendations and Input (8/14/20) 

N/A

 

Links & Resources

Council Members' Bios

Bret N. Barney

 

Bret N. Barney, Wyola

Bears have been a part of my life for a long time. Many of my earliest childhood memories are from annual vacations in Yellowstone National Park. A particular memory sticks out: One year a bear came into our camp during lunch, and of course everyone scattered—except for me! I made my way under a nearby picnic table as the bear went on top of the table to eat our lunch. It was a tense few minutes, but I got out safely. And the bear enjoyed a nice meal.

As Wildlife Manager at the Sunlight Ranch Company in the Beartooth Mountains of south-central Montana, I take pride in the fact that our large-scale cattle management program is compatible with diverse wildlife habitat. Sunlight Ranch supports both mule and white-tailed deer, elk, moose, sage grouse, antelope, mountain lions, black bears, and of course, many grizzlies. Under our overarching philosophy at the ranch, each of these species has a place on the landscape. For this reason, it is critical that we strike the right balance of conservation, management, and recovery of the state’s grizzly bear population. I want to approach this mission in a way that improves safety and reduces conflict.

 

 

 

Chad Bauer

 

Chad Bauer, Missoula

I am a native Montanan and have spent my entire life enjoying the outdoors—hunting, fishing and camping. In my professional career with waste management, I have been involved in bear and garbage conflicts, working with partners in our state for over 25 years to help find solutions to issues.

I am also a long-time Montana Hunter and Bowhunter Education instructor, and as grizzly bears expand into newer areas I believe that we need to focus on teaching our students and next generation of hunters on how to stay safe in bear country. I hope to help find middle ground for managing bears in Montana.

 

 

 

Darrin L. Boss

 

 

 

Darrin L. Boss, Havre

I have always been interested in wildlife-agriculture interactions. I really appreciate the dynamics of public/private lands and wildlife/livestock that happen daily in Montana and want to be part of solutions related to these complexities.

I am the Department Head of Montana States University’s Research Centers. I am first and foremost a scientist from my training and work experience and have several college degrees in Agriculture and Wildlife Biology and Ecology.

As a member of this Council, I want to listen to various ideas and offer science-based information to the discussion.

 

 

 

 

 

Jonathan Bowler

 

Jonathan Bowler, Swan Valley

As part of the community in the Swan Valley of Montana, I am connected to grizzly bears by a shared landscape. This community has a great deal of respect for grizzly bears, and through education, outreach, partnerships, and sharing of knowledge, local residents have learned ways to coexist and mitigate conflict. I have learned a lot from the combined experiences of my neighbors, and I'd like to be able to share those insights while learning from other communities' experiences at the same time.

I am the Education Director for Swan Valley Connections, a community-based nonprofit that works to support our native ecosystem and the local economies that depend on its resources. This work builds our education programs with a focus on managing wildlife in working landscapes.

 

 

 

 

Trina Jo Bradley, Valier

 

 

Trina Jo Bradley, Valier

I was born and raised on the Rocky Mountain Front in grizzly country, so human/grizzly conflicts have been a subject near and dear my entire life. As a livestock producer, my father struggled with depredation and the ever-present danger of living with grizzlies.

My husband and I ranch about 10 miles north of where I grew up, and we are in the same boat. Grizzlies are limiting our daily activities, stressing our cattle and horses, and causing damage. I believe we need tools to manage bears in a way that is best for both grizzlies and the people that live here. I am excited to get to work with this Council so we can put our heads together and come up with a solution that works for all Montanans.

 

 

 

 

 

Caroline Byrd

 

Caroline Byrd, Bozeman

I have a long career in conservation throughout the West, including many years spent living and working in Montana. I applied to this Council because of my enduring interest in the fate of grizzly bears. Ever since first living and working in bear country in the early 1980s, I have studied bears and worked for their conservation and sound management.

Early in my career, I instructed for the National Outdoor Leadership School, sharing my love for outdoor skills and adventure in the Rocky Mountains, Southwest deserts, North Cascades, Canada, Alaska and East Africa. Currently, I am the Executive Director of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, and before that I was the Western Montana Program Director for The Nature Conservancy where I worked on the Montana Legacy Project and the Blackfoot Community Project, two landscape-scale conservation efforts. Throughout my career I have worked with a variety of partners and communities to come to long term conservation solutions and am now looking forward to being part of this Council.

 

 

Michele Dieterich

 

Michele Dieterich, Hamilton

I have a great respect for grizzly bears and their role in our world. I applied to the Council with the hope of creating a way for us to peacefully co-exist with the great bruins.

My background is in education and teaching. My first experience was at an orphanage in Guatemala where I taught math and art. I then spent time leading hiking, biking and climbing excursions in the Western US and Alaska. My recent and most challenging adventure has been teaching art to junior high students.

I’ve called western Montana home for over 30 years and enjoy the sense of community and wild landscape that it offers.

 

 

 

 

Erin Edge

 

Erin Edge, Missoula

I am the Rockies and Plains Representative for Defenders of Wildlife, based in Missoula, and have over a decade of experience working on grizzly bear conservation issues.

As grizzly bear populations grow and expand into historic habitat my work has been focused in preventing conflicts by finding economically viable and balanced ways that bears and people can share the landscape. I have worked with landowners, agencies and local communities, assisting with projects related to bears and other wildlife.

The outdoors is also a huge and important part of my free time and family time. My family and I like to explore the trails in Western Montana and enjoy finding new adventures through travel.

 

 

Nick Gevock

 

 

Nick Gevock, Helena

I’ve called Montana home for 21 years, and I have been interested and engaged in grizzly bear conservation throughout that time. For 11 years as a newspaper reporter in Bozeman and Butte, I often covered grizzly bear management, the issues surrounding their Endangered Species Act listing, as well as conflicts and attacks. For the past six years I have worked on measures to reduce conflicts with grizzly bears and on planning for their long-term place on the Montana landscape.

Grizzly bears are one of Montana’s most valued native wildlife species, and I’m eager to be involved in their future in the state. I spend a great deal of time in grizzly bear country hunting, fishing, hiking, backpacking and cycling and know the challenges they present.

 

 

 

Lorents Grosfield

 

 

Lorents Grosfield, Big Timber

I am a third generation cattle rancher and landowner in Sweet Grass County. I served in the Montana Senate for 12 years through the '90s and early 2000s. I have three sons and nine grandchildren.

Although I live in an area not quite yet touched by grizzly issues, I know they are moving into more places in Montana. I know too that there are a lot of Montanans that are very concerned about this prospect, and many are not ready for it. I think that management of this unique species needs to consider all citizens of Montana. I believe that Montana landowners and livestock producers have a responsibility to be engaged, and I am honored to be helping with this process. I have served on several workgroups and committees in the past. In these capacities, we tackled big topics, and I know from this experience that reasonable management suggestions can surface from a well-rounded citizen’s group. I look forward to finding reasonable middle ground to assist the wildlife agencies in the management of this difficult issue.

 

 

Kameron Kelsey

 

 

Kameron Kelsey, Gallatin Gateway

Born and raised in the remote Taylor Fork valley, south of Big Sky, MT, I have lived my life in grizzly bear country. My extensive firsthand experience observing the way these bears function in remote environments has given me a base of respect for this animal. Grizzly bears are a part of what makes Montana so special. I believe that it is important to our ecosystem, economy and tourism industry to manage these animals so that they thrive as a species and cohabitate well with Montana’s quickly growing population.

For three generations, my family has owned and operated the Nine Quarter Circle Ranch, a dude ranch and outfitting business. My wife and I are excited to take over the ranch this year and continue a legacy of land stewardship, and we look forward to sharing this special corner of the world with others.

 

 

 

 

Robyn King

Robyn King, Yaak

I am a thirty-two-year resident of the Yaak Valley and one of the founders of Yaak Valley Forest Council. As Director, I manage day-to-day operations and oversee all YVFC programs, including Forest Watch, Headwaters Restoration Partnership Project, Community Development and Conservation Education.

I live in the Cabinet/Yaak Recovery Zone and am deeply committed to the recovery of this population. I'm also deeply committed to finding common ground solutions on historically polarizing issues. Recovered and thriving grizzly bear populations are not only a Montana treasure and legacy but also a national treasure and legacy. I'd like to be part of a process that supports this effort.

 

Kristen Kipp

 

 

Kristen Kipp, Browning

I am extremely passionate about grizzly bear management because I live in the heart of grizzly and Blackfeet country on the Blackfeet Reservation in Northwestern Montana, where I experience daily grizzly bear interactions.

Historically the Blackfeet and the grizzly bear have co-existed with balance and a respect for one other, while maintaining a healthy population and ensuring a safe environment for our children and community. I am dedicated to working with others to find effective solutions for grizzly bear management.

I love being outdoors, hiking, hunting, taking photos, anything horse-related, and spending time with my two beautiful children.

 

 

Cole Mannix

 

 

Cole Mannix, Helena

I applied to be a part of this Council because I believe that how Montanans choose to manage the grizzly bear is a crucial issue in itself and for the future of the landscape.

The issue also hits close to home, since the Blackfoot Valley, where my family's ranch is located, is one of the key areas of private land that is experiencing greatly increased grizzly bear presence.

As Associate Director of Western Landowners Alliance, I live in Helena and work to increase the value Americans place on private land stewardship and to shape policy to better facilitate that stewardship. I am married to Eileen Brennan and have two sons, Finn and Charlie.

 

 

 

Heath Martinell

 

 

Heath Martinell, Dell

I applied to be a member of this Council because I have an interest in the successful management of grizzlies. As a member of a family ranch, our livelihood depends on the health of the land and animals around us.

My family and those working with us are operating in an increasingly dangerous landscape as bear populations and human conflicts expand. I hope to find balance between a healthy bear population and swift, effective methods of dealing with problems when they arise.

I have been married to my wife, Kiley, for twenty years and we have three kids.

 

 

 

 

Chuck Roady

 

 

Chuck Roady, Columbia Falls

I applied to be a part of this Council in hopes of reaching solutions for grizzly bear management in Montana. I have lived, worked, and recreated in grizzly bear habitat for most of my adult life.

In my career as a forester and land manager I have had to consider grizzly bears along with a cast of other endangered species for my entire career. As the populations of bears continue to increase and expand beyond the defined recovery areas, the human – bear interactions will also continue to increase. I think that we must arrive at logical management solutions and be flexible enough to modify those approaches as we learn more in the future.

I believe we must do the best job we can of managing all our natural resources (wildlife, water, vegetation, minerals, etc.) and am honored to be part of a team working on grizzly bear management.

 

 

Gregory Shock

 

 

Gregory Shock, St. Ignatius

I owned and operated a dairy farm at the base of the Mission Mountains on the Flathead Indian Reservation for 43 years. During this time I learned how to grow, adapt and change the way that I ran my dairy to better coexist with an increasing number of grizzly bears. The process was not easy and I am still continually challenged in successfully raising livestock and crops, but I do feel that grizzly bears belong in Montana and need to be protected.

I look forward to bringing my first-hand experience farming in grizzly bear country and serving as part of collaborative boards and partnerships to this Council.

I like to be outdoors hiking and fishing, amongst other things. I have been married for 43 years and have four sons and a daughter. Fun fact: I once had 15 different grizzly bears foraging in my 120-acre corn field one fall.

 

 

Anne Schuschke

 

 

Anne Schuschke, East Glacier

My interest in serving on this Council and in grizzly bears stems from growing up in a wild place. As a native Montanan, I have a deep love & appreciation for where we live; I enjoy the more mindful life mountains and prairies provide.

My childhood was spent romping through the forests and meadows of Northwest Montana looking for bugs, sticks, and feathers while keeping a watchful eye out for bears and lions. I learned good stewardship of the land and its animals from my parents. While helping set up an archery stand I witnessed my first real life bear.

Years later as an adult, I have carved out a unique career path blending education and naturalist work so I can continue to see bears in the wild. I have dedicated the past decade of my time to naturalist work in Glacier and Denali National Parks as well as Churchill, Manitoba. There is nothing I enjoy more than taking people out for a hike, expanding their knowledge and understanding of the natural world and witnessing a love and appreciation grow.

MONTANA OUTDOORS

Bursting at the Seams

Whether or not the ever-expanding Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem grizzly population is delisted, FWP will continue to resolve problems between bears and people.

Read the Article 
Bursting at the Seams article cover