Date of Award

Spring 2008

Project Type


Program or Major

Political Science

Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Jeannie Sowers


This Thesis explores the question, "what are the politics of de-listing an endangered species?" The Yellowstone grizzly de-listing process offered environmental organizations a platform to provide the general public with a genuine opportunity to engage with the comments and positions, to the federal government. It contends that a symbolic consensus has been constructed about the American West, Yellowstone National Park and the grizzly bear and these constructed were strong enough to generate the majority of edited responses to the Fish and Wildlife Service during the de-listing process. This thesis looks at the manner in which environmental organizations employ this natural heritage and used it to generate public response against the de-listing process. Finally, this thesis fleshes out three emerging themes that environmental organizations use to generate response: the role of trust in transitioning oversight from the federal to state government, the role of scientific knowledge, and the role of values.