Mountain Nature and Culture Podcast
About This Show
This podcast explores the natural and human history of the Canadian Rockies as well as its attractions and culture. We'll look at the ecology and wildlife as well as the unique plants and birds that make the Canadian Rockies home. Looking back through our history we will share the stories behind the scenery. This is the place for all things Rockies.
Most Recent Episode
022 Grizzly Reintroduction to the North Cascades, North America's earliest bison, the Rocky Mountain Pledge and people using wildlife corridors
6 days ago
This week we'll look at efforts to reintroduce grizzly bears to the north Cascades of Washington State. The plan may include some Canadian bears to help repopulate an area that has excellent habitat for bears. We'll also look way back into the earliest history of bison on the North American landscapes. With this summer looking to be the busiest ever, I'm promoting a new Rocky Mountain Pledge to help visitors enjoy the mountain landscapes in a safe and sensitive way. Finally, we'll look at the challenges of human use in designated wildlife corridors. Story 1 - North Cascades Grizzly Reintroduction The long history of grizzly bears has seen them removed from most of their historic range. Today they are limited to only the wildest of western landscapes. Once they ranged across most of western and northern Canada and south as far as Mexico. As people began to migrate westward, the grizzly bear was a natural competitor for many of the resources that these early pioneers sought. For this reason, like the buffalo, they were gradually wiped from the map of most of the United States and many areas of Canada. Like Banff is doing with bison, other landscapes are hoping to do with grizzly bears, in particular, the north Cascades ecosystem in northern Washington State. Like the south coast of British Columbia, grizzlies have been largely squeezed and hunted to the extent that there are only a few bears in this particular landscape. Today, there may be less than 10 bears wandering the north Cascades - a landscape that could easily support a few hundred bears. There is a growing movement to reintroduce grizzlies to the north Cascades. Now while we proudly boast about reintroducing buffalo, we need to realize that grizzlies ain't no buffalo. Compared to grizzlies, bison are a piece of cake. They are incredibly adaptable ecosystem engineers. Like beaver, they change the landscape to benefit their expansion. Grizzly bears are local specialists. You've heard me time and again talking about the importance of knowing the seasonal food preferences of bears in order to stay safe in bear country. Unfortunately, every bear population has a different list of seasonal foods. Bears in Banff have never tasted a salmon. Each bear must spend years with its mother learning how to survive in the landscape that it calls home. You can't just airlift a bear from one landscape and hope that it can survive in another - especially wh