2018 CPANP Letterhead
April 26, 2018

The Honorable Matt Mead, Governor
State of Wyoming
Idelman Mansion
2323 Carey Ave.
Cheyenne, WY 82002-0010

Dear Governor Mead:

We, the undersigned, are former and current employees of the National Park Service (NPS) and active members of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks (Coalition). With over 1,500 members, the Coalition collectively represents more than 35,000 years of national park management experience. We have devoted our careers to serving the American people and protecting the integrity and resources of America’s National Park System. We are writing out of concern over the proposal put forth by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to allow hunting of up to 24 Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly bears this coming fall.

National parks represent the best of America. They are intertwined with our national identity and preserve the visible record of our nation’s diverse and colorful past. National parks also protect some of the last remaining habitats that shelter iconic North American wildlife species like bison, grizzly bears, and bald eagles. In our increasingly busy and complex world, national parks are where many of our fellow Americans go to refresh their spirits and bear witness to the awe-inspiring beauty of nature.

During the process to delist the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly bear, the Coalition expressed our concerns that the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service proposal to remove this population from protections of the Endangered Species Act did not do enough to ensure the long-term conservation of this population. The Coalition opposed the delisting primarily due to our concern that the Final Delisting Rule would allow significant increases in human-caused mortalities of Yellowstone grizzly bears. While Montana has taken a prudently cautious approach since the delisting decision, Wyoming’s aggressive proposal to allow recreational hunting of up to 24 bears – including some through baiting – reaffirms our concern.

As a national park advocacy group, the Coalition is most concerned about the adverse impacts that increased human-caused mortality from the proposed hunt will have on the grizzly population within and in the immediate vicinity of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. We are also concerned about the likely impact of the hunt on wildlife viewing opportunities within the two parks. Yellowstone grizzly bears and other “charismatic mega-fauna” are tremendously popular with the millions of park visitors who are drawn to the area every year. In 2016 alone, Yellowstone and Grand Teton combined attracted over 7.6 million visitors, who spent over $1.1 billion in the region, and that spending generated over $1.4 billion in total economic output. Given the magnitude of park visitation and its positive economic impacts, is killing grizzly bears for sport really the image of Wyoming that you want to portray to the rest of the Nation?

Wyoming’s proposed hunt targets bears along the eastern and southern border of Yellowstone and the western and southern boundary of Grand Teton National Parks.  As we all know, grizzlies don’t read boundary signs and move across large distances on a regular basis; therefore, national park bears face mortal threat should hunting be allowed near park boundaries.

While the increase in the Yellowstone grizzly bear population achieved over the past 35 years has truly been a wildlife conservation success story, the premature removal of Yellowstone grizzlies from protected species status, without providing adequate institutional controls to ensure the population remains recovered, was a grievous mistake. The consequences of this impatience will only be exacerbated by Wyoming’s aggressive proposal to kill as many as 24 grizzly bears this fall.

Governor Mead, we ask that you halt this proposed hunt; it is premature to proceed until all issues, including appeals to the courts, pertaining to the delisting are resolved. The iconic Yellowstone grizzly bear and the American public who have long supported its conservation deserve better.

Thank you very much for your consideration.

Sincerely,

The Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks Executive Council:

Phillip A. Francis, Chair
Douglas K. Morris, Vice Chair
Michael B. Murray
Richard Ring
Maria Burks
Brenda Barrett
Don Hellmann
Rebecca Harriett
Bob Mackreth
Sheridan Steele
Mark Butler
David Graber

Members of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks:

Amy Gilbert
Ann M. Johnson
Anndevoy Ryan
Anne Worthington
B. William Henry
Bill Jackson
Bill Pierce
Brian R Adams
Carl S. Christensen
Carol A.Clark
Carolyn L. Knoll
Catherine Sue B. Christensen
Cathleen J Cook
Charles E. Schultheis
Charles R. "Butch" Farabee, Jr.
Cherry Payne
Chuck Bloomingburg
Craig C. Axtell
Cynthia M. Holda
D. Scott Hartwig
Dan Davis
Daniel J. Jenner
Daniel W. Steed, Jr. and Karen M. Steed
David A. Clary
David B Shaver
David C Forney
David C. Hartman
David H Wallace
David Haet
David L. Moffitt
David N. Given
Dawn Foy
Deborah O. Liggett
Debra Levie
Dee Renee Ericks
Delora M. Loope
Denis M. Osowski
Denis P Galvin
Don Neubacher
Donald A. Falvey
Douglas DeNio
Dr. Harold P. Danz
Dr. Jerry Freilich
Edward P. Walzer
Edward Pontbriand
Edward S. Kalbach
Edwin (Ed) Rothfuss
Elizabeth Appling Roberts
Elizabeth H. Knight
Elizabeth K. Murray
Elizabeth Snyder
Elizabeth Van Zandt
Emilee Martell
Erik R. Hauge
Florence I. Townsend
Fran Rutter
Frances Norton
Frank J. Deckert
Frank P. Weed
Gail C. Menard
Gary E. Davis
Gary T Cummins
Gary William Johnson
Gene Casey
Lizbeth Casey
George Alderson
Gilbert E. Blinn
J. Mel Poole
Jack E Stark
Jack Ramsden
James Evans
Jane C Anderson
Janet Wolf
Otto wolf
Jared cohen
Joan Anzelmo
John Cissell
John H Jameson
John Richard Erisman
John T. Conoboy
Joseph H. Finan
Joseph Lee Boyle
Katherine C. Ziegenfus
Kathryn S. Brett
Kathryn Thomas
Kathy A Tonnessen, Ph.D.
Ken Kehrer, Jr.
Kenneth E. Apschnikat
Kent Cave
Kevin D. McMurry
Kim E. Sikoryak
Larry Walling
Leslie Starr Hart
Linda Alick
Linda Finn
Linda L. West
Lucinda Stafford
Luke E. Dalton
Marcia Blaszak
Mark Kelleher
Mark Ruggiero
Michael Budig
Michael C. Warren
Michael K. Johnson
Michael Sutton
Nancy A. Nelson
Nancy Stone
Nathan Walker
Nelson Siler
Nicholas J Eason
Paul Henderson
Paulette Mullinax
Peter James Fitzpatrick
Peter K. Nigh
Philip S Heckman
R Dunnagan
Randy W Turner
Ray Herrmann
Rebecca M. Post
Rev. William R. Morris
Richard B. Smith
Richard D. Knowlen
Richard M. Bryant
Rick Jones
Rick L. Mossman
Robbyn Jackson
Robert Joseph Abrell
Robert L Peterson
Roberta Barrows
Roberta D'Amico
Ronald G. Thoman
Russ Ludwick
Sandra Hamilton
Scott Sticha
Sherry Justus
Shirley Clark
Robert Clark
Stephen E. Whitesell
Stephen M Clark
Stephen R. Bruner
Steve Kemp
Steven Harrison
Stuart L. Croll
Terry W. Savage
Timothy J. Oliverius
Vito Spinale
W. Eugene Cox
Wendy Poinsot
William Blair Curtis
William F. Loftus, Ph.D.
William H. DeBerry
William J Carroll
William Sanders