KALISPELL — The public is invited to the next meeting of the Governor’s Grizzly Bear Advisory Council which is set for later this month in Libby.
The meetings are scheduled to start at 8 a.m., Feb. 26, and 9 a.m., Feb. 27 in the Ponderosa Room at Libby City Hall.
The meetings are open to the public and opportunities for public engagement will be available.
The meetings will feature an extended opportunity for the public to share ideas and questions related to the council’s purpose and emerging ideas beginning at 5 p.m. on Feb. 26.
The public is also encouraged to provide input to council members online.
The focus throughout the two-day meeting will be for the council to further develop its emerging ideas and continue to build upon a shared knowledge and understanding of the issues the group is tasked with addressing.
A panel presentation and discussion will focus on the challenges and opportunities that recreation and tourism have on the recovery, conservation and management of grizzly bears, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Dillion Tabish.
Other topics will include funding, connectivity and the Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem, a federally designated recovery zone for grizzly bears in northwest Montana.
The Cabinet-Yaak Recovery Zone – which covers more than 2,600 square miles -- is situated in northwestern Montana and northeastern Idaho.
Only a few grizzly bears remained in this area in the 1980s,, estimated at fewer than 10 in the Cabinet Mountains portion alone.
There are now an estimated 55 to 60 grizzly bears in the Cabinet-Yaak Recovery Zone.
Additional meetings will be held across the state to provide more people the opportunity to interact with the council before it submits its final recommendations this summer.