Back to News page

Decades of Advocacy and Collaboration lead to a ki?lawna? (Grizzly Bear) Restoration Plan for the North Cascades as the US recently Releases a Joint Record of Decision

April 30th, 2024

tkwəɬniwt Westbank, BC: With great support and celebration, the Syilx Okanagan Nation commends the National Park Service and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for the Announcement of the Decision to Actively Restore ki?lawna? (Grizzly Bear) to the North Cascades Ecosystem. The Nation looks forward to continuing our collaboration with the U.S. to restore grizzly bear populations to this transboundary ecosystem. We acknowledge the work of the two U.S. agencies: Department of Interior, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, along with the U.S. National Park Service, various ENGOs, and the public for their extensive community engagement, comments, and review of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), March 21, 2024.

ki?lawna are an integral part of Syilx Okanagan culture and are a critical indicator of the health and well-being of the land and Syilx Okanagan people since time immemorial. “The decision to restore grizzly bears to this sacred part of the landscape is an indicator of our leadership’s commitments that demonstrates a clear example of our Nation’s continuing efforts to uphold our responsibilities for the tmixw. We are beginning a long process of recovery, and we are pleased to embark on this journey together with our US partners” stated Chief Clarence Louie, Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) Tribal Chairman. The ONA has been recently apprised that the two agencies have signed a Record of Decision (April 25, 2024) selecting an alternative involving the active restoration of grizzly bears to the ecosystem under a 10(j) nonessential experimental population designation. When hearing about the announcement, ONA Natural
Resources Chair, Councillor Jordan Coble added, “The announcement of the Decision to Actively Restore ki?lawna? to the U.S. North Cascades Ecosystem in the U.S. marks an important moment in history for recovery efforts on both sides of the border. Restoring ki?lawna? to the North Cascades Ecosystem has involved multiple decades of work by many committed people, leading us to where we are now. From the Syilx Okanagan Nation’s perspective, our partnership with our U.S. cohorts on this work demonstrates a clear example of naqsmiʔst xə̌l tmixʷ (coming together for all living things) and that we are collectively righting a wrong and returning ki?lawna to a transboundary ecosystem that depends on their presence. This decision re-confirms our commitment to protecting ki?lawna today and for generations to come.”

The Syilx Okanagan territory is transboundary, as the North Cascades Ecosystem is transboundary, thus requires coordinated efforts on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border. In 2014, the ONA Chief’s Executive Council declared ki?lawna protected across the territory and set a mandate to take action to restore and protect endangered populations, including throughout the North Cascades Ecosystem. ONA has since led recovery and stewardship planning efforts in partnership with our nations communities and neighbouring Nations, including the S’olh Temexw Stewardship Alliance, the Coast to Cascades Grizzly Bear Initiative and Conservation Northwest. We also look forward to continuing to advance collaborative efforts to prepare for Grizzly Bear recovery in the British Columbian portion of the North Cascades with the BC and Federal Governments.

For more information, please contact:
ki law’na, Chief Clarence Louie, ONA Tribal Chair

Councilor, Jordan Coble, ONA NRC Chair
T: 1-250-498-9132 T: 1-250-300-5673

Cailyn Glasser, ONA Natural Resource Manager
T: 1-250-469-1595

ONA Grizzly Bear Backgrounder
FAQ 2024 Northern Cascades Grizzly Bear

Other Related Links: 

ONA Previous News Story Links

Record of Decision Links

Grizzly Bear Restoration Record of Decision Signed

ParkPlanning – Joint Record of Decision (

US News Release

Agencies announce decision to restore grizzly bears to North Cascades – North Cascades National Park (U.S. National Park Service) (

10j Rule

The final 10(j) rule will be available in the Federal Register and at in the coming days (reference Docket No. FWS-R1-ES-2023-0074).

US GB Project Page

EIS Page