Yellowstone Backpacking and the Great Bears’ Future, Part 1

Big Wild Adventures has been organizing and leading multi-day guided Yellowstone backpacking treks since 1979! Needless to say, viewing wildlife in its natural wilderness habitat is one of the primary attractions for most of our clients. And when you mention Yellowstone wildlife, most folks immediately think of the grizzly bear. That’s because of the great bears’ majesty. It is also due to the danger factor, which is real but generally exaggerated, and is addressed on our Bears in the Big Wild web page. Nowadays, what concerns us at Big Wild Adventures is the federal government’s plan to remove the grizzly bear in the lower 48 states from the endangered species list. It is currently listed as a “Threatened” species.

Let me be clear: for the immediate future there is little chance that the grizzly bear will disappear from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. So seeing one — or more — of these magnificent animals will remain a real possibility and attraction on any of our guided Yellowstone hiking tours. Grizzlies are also found in our other guiding areas in the Greater Yellowstone region, including the Grand Tetons and the Gros Ventre Wilderness, plus the Wind River, Beartooth and Absaroka mountain ranges. To the north, our clients might see a griz while backpacking in Montana on our Rocky Mountain Front trek in the vast Bob Marshall Wilderness.

So grizzlies are abundant enough for now in these limited remaining enclaves of wild habitat. But their long-term future remains in doubt. In the next blog we will take a look at the big bears’ recent history in the Yellowstone Ecosystem and finally, in the third installment of this series, we will look at some compelling reasons to maintain the “Threatened” status for the great bear in the lower 48 states.

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