Photo confirms grizzly in Washington’s N. Cascades

Posted July 01, 2011, at 8:19 p.m.

SEATTLE — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says a hiker’s photo confirms a sighting of a grizzly bear in Washington state’s North Cascades for the first time in perhaps half a century.

The agency said Friday a panel of experts identified the grizzly in a photo taken in October by Joe Sebille (seh-BILL’). The Mount Vernon man says he was hiking near the community of Marblemount when he saw the bear and snapped the cell phone photo.

Friends persuaded him to share the photo with North Cascades National Park officials.

A member of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, Becki Heath, says it’s a significant event in the recovery of the bear. Fewer than 20 grizzlies are believed to live in Washington’s North Cascades. The bears are protected under state and federal law.