The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) recently proposed the whitebark pine for a “threatened” listing under the Endangered Species Act. Whitebark pines are one of the most important alpine trees in the western U.S. and Canada. They provide critical food and shelter for wildlife on rugged mountain slopes. Tough as whitebarks are, they’re vanishing due to disease and climate change. There are more dead than living whitebark pines left in the country.
The USFWS is accepting public comments on the proposed listing until February 1. The agency is required to read all comments and weigh them in its final decision. You can help protect this keystone species — essential for high-elevation forests in the West — by submitting a comment in favor of adding the whitebark to the Endangered Species Act.
A sample public comment is below. Please feel free to use this statement as inspiration for your own comment:
It is essential that the whitebark pine be listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Canada has already classified this species as endangered. It’s time for the United States to do its part to save these pines. The science is irrefutable: Whitebark pines will go extinct unless we protect healthy populations and engage in large-scale planting of seedlings that are resistant to blister rust fungus. If whitebark pines were to go extinct, it would trigger cascading harms for western forests, wildlife and regional water supplies. Restoration efforts urgently need more funds, assistance and resources to bring back this imperiled species. A listing under the Endangered Species Act would be a vital step in the species’ recovery.