Environmentalists and the timber industry do not often collaborate, but in the years immediately following gray wolf reintroduction in the interior American West, a plan to reintroduce grizzly bears to the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness of Idaho and Montana brought these odd bedfellows together. The partnership won praise from diverse interests across the country and in 2000 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved a plan for reintroduction. When the Bush Administration took office, however, it promptly shelved the project.
In "Grizzly West" Michael J. Dax explores the political, cultural, and social forces at work in the West and around the country that gave rise to this innovative plan but also contributed to its downfall. Observers at the time blamed the project s collapse on simple partisan politics, but Dax reveals how the American West s changing culture and economy over the second half of the twentieth century dramatically affected this bold vision. He examines the growth of the New West s political potency, while at the same time revealing the ways in which the Old West still holds a significant grip over the region s politics. "Grizzly West" explores the great divide between the Old and the New West, one that has lasting consequences for the modern West and for our country's relationship with its wildlife.