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Bureaucracy complicated news of man’s fatal grizzly mauling

CODY — Fatal bear attacks are rare, and the deadly mauling in June of a botanist by a grizzly bear that researchers had trapped and released just hours earlier is thought to be the first and only such incident in the United States.

Any attack on a human by a predator draws intense scrutiny from the news media and the public. But bear attacks around Yellowstone National Park happen in a politically charged climate where every rumor, fact and utterance can become fodder for a wider debate on wildlife management.

So it is hardly a surprise that in the two days following the death of Erwin Frank Evert, 70, of Park Ridge, Ill., various officials responding to the incident knew many of the same important details, but had different opinions about how, whether and when to share that information.

Internal communications and other documents from federal, state and local agencies gathered using public records laws show that wildlife officials closely monitored media coverage of Evert’s death. But there was no single authority that represented a unified voice for a diverse group of individuals and agencies involved in grizzly bear management.

Sept. 14, 2010: Bureaucracy complicated news of man’s fatal grizzly mauling

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BLM planning meetings in Wyoming remain closed to public

CODY — Despite objections from a diverse range of interest groups and elected officials, land-use planning sessions with U.S. Bureau of Land Management staff members in Wyoming remain closed, and internal documents from that agency offer scant new insight into the reasoning behind that policy.

Public opinion is not unanimous in calling for open meetings between BLM planners and cooperating local groups like county commissioners and conservation districts, but at least one elected official working inside the process worries that the result will be a surprised and angry public.

“I do think when we finally have a draft to look at, I think the public will say they wish some of this had been opened so they would have been able to continue to give input throughout the process,” said Park County Commissioner Jill Shockley Siggins.

Sept. 4, 2010: BLM planning meetings in Wyoming remain closed to public
Sept. 4. 2010: Some see benefit in closed meetings with BLM
DOWNLOAD: BLM materials provided in response to FOIA request

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