The Missoula Bear Smart Working Group fills one of the initial steps in the Bear Smart Community Program. The goal is to address the root causes of human-bear conflicts, reducing the risks to human safety and private property, as well as the number of bears that must be killed or relocated each year.
To apply the concepts of the Bear Smart Community Program to the Missoula area, a group of concerned citizens, bear biologists, agency bear managers, a Republic Services employee, non-governmental organizations and employees of Missoula County and the City of Missoula got together and formed the Missoula Bear Smart Working Group. The group has its roots in the working group that was instrumental in the drafting and passage of the City Wildlife Feeding Ordinance and establishment of the City’s Bear Buffer Zone and its accompanying garbage management rules during the past 15 years.
The efforts of the Missoula Bear Smart Working Group have involved the support of the Missoula County Commissioners and the Mayor and City Council of Missoula.
This working group is made up of a wide array of community representatives including:
• James Jonkel and Eli Hampson—Bear Management Team, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department (MFWP)
• Erin Edge — Senior Representative Rockies and Plains Program, Defenders of Wildlife
• Chris Servheen — North American Bears Expert Team and Montana Wildlife Federation
• Chad Bauer — Republic Services
• Elissa Chott and Heather Leach — Great Bear Foundation
• Nancy Heil and Beth Judy — Rattlesnake Creek Watershed Group
• Bert Lindler — North Hills Elk, Bear, and Weed Volunteer
• Ginny Merriam — Communication Director, City of Missoula
• Shannon Therriault — Environmental Health Director, Missoula City-County health Department
• Radley Watkins — Resource Conservationist, Missoula Conservation District
• Kali Becher — Open Lands Manager, Missoula County Community and Planning Services
Special thanks to the following:
Missoula City-County Health Department; Missoula County Community and Planning Services, Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP), the Great Bear Foundation, Republic Services, Grizzly Disposal, Melissa Booth, Jerod Merkle, University of Montana Student Wildlife Society, Bear Aware, Missoula Bears, the Rattlesnake Watershed Working Group, Friends of Grant Creek, Ninemile Wildlife Working Group, Friends of Two Rivers, Pattee Canyon Bear Aware and Missoula residents and community who helped petition for, and launch the Missoula Bear Smart effort.