BILLINGS — U.S. wildlife officials have released a recovery plan for an estimated 1,000 grizzly bears in Montana — the largest grizzly population in the lower 48 — as they lay the groundwork to potentially lift protections for the animals.
The habitat plan released Thursday includes limits on motorized travel, recreational sites and livestock grazing.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service document is meant to protect bears in a conservation area encompassing 9,000 square miles (23,000 square kilometers) along the U.S.-Canada border, including Glacier National Park.
About three-quarters of the bears’ habitat is on federal lands.
The Northern Rockies’ other large grizzly population, around Yellowstone National Park, lost its protected status last year and faces potential public hunting beginning this fall.
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