Thursday, June 26, 2008

IGBC Committee 25th Anniversary

This year is the 25th Anniversary of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC). A jovial celebration and presentation of awards on June 21 was held at the Blackfoot-Clearwater Wildlife Management Area in Seeley Lake, Montana, north of Missoula.

What is the IGBC, you say? It is a group formed of federal and state agency representatives, established in 1983, with the goal of leading grizzly bear recovery in the lower 48 states. The committee is in charge of implementing the Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan, and all management and research activities necessary to provide for recovery of the grizzly bear. They make joint recommendations to Federal agency heads and Governors. Each recovery ecosystem has its own subcommittee that reports to this executive committee.

After 2 days of business meetings there was celebration, and socializing. The 25th Anniversary Celebration was outdoors at Rich Ranch, plopped in the middle of grizzly bear territory. In fact, a short walk from the lunch tent, were grizzly bear tracks. Speakers included Gail Kimbell, Chief of the US Forest Service; Bob Barbee, Superintendent of Yellowstone National Park; and Chris Servheen, the Grizzly Bear Recovery Coordinator for the IGBC. But everybody was wow-ed by the keynote speaker Stan Tixier, 2nd IGBC Chairman, Retired US Forest Service and Cowboy Poet Extraordinaire. He is a long, tall cowboy and as classy as they come.

Among the award recipients was our own Chris Morgan, for achievement in communications and education. Congratulations, Chris.

GBOP was represented by Chris Morgan, Wendy Gardner and myself. We were asked to give a presentation at the business meeting and provide a booth at the celebration, which was also attended by the public. GBOP was brightly received, with lots of positive feedback, much interest and many congratulations for the good work we are doing in the North Cascades of Washington.

Julie L. (Hayes) Hopkins