Protecting the Great Bear

The Greater Yellowstone Coalition's Philosophy

Photo copyright: Peter Bengeyfield

Photo copyright: Peter Bengeyfield

Thanks to your support, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem continues to be a stronghold for grizzly bears. Yellowstone grizzlies continue to thrive and expand in protected and connected wildlands of the Northern Rockies.

The Yellowstone grizzly bear is an iconic keystone species of the Yellowstone region, brought back from the brink of extinction because of the success of the Endangered Species Act and efforts of countless agencies and organizations around the ecosystem. The Greater Yellowstone Coalition is proud to be a central figure in the recent legal and conservation efforts to protect Yellowstone grizzlies. The grizzly is one of the conservation success stories of our time and one that our members have been deeply involved in throughout our 30-plus years of conservation efforts.

With the goal of a thriving, connected Yellowstone grizzly population, the Greater Yellowstone Coalition will protect and expand core habitat, significantly reduce conflicts among grizzlies and humans, and help connect populations of grizzlies from the Yellowstone Region to other wild landscapes in the Northern Rockies. Your continued support will help us with these three key initiatives:

Core Habitat

Grizzly bears thrive in Greater Yellowstone’s wild places. Roads and backcountry development threaten the bears’ ability to persist. In order to save and improve grizzly bear habitat to maintain a healthy population, we seek to:

  • Secure new protections for the ecosystem’s roadless backcountry and defend public lands from development;
  • Accelerate and expand the scale of private land conservation in grizzly bear habitat; and
  • Lead the charge to develop a community supported wilderness proposal for the Gallatin Range; the only remaining large roadless mountain range emanating from Yellowstone National Park that lacks permanent protection.


One of the biggest threats to grizzly bears today is increased conflict with humans. As more people use grizzly bears’ natural habitat, bears become displaced and are often killed when they are perceived as a threat. We aim to keep people safe and grizzlies wild and alive; allowing more grizzlies to survive and expand their range. To effectively reduce conflicts, we will:

  • Install bear-proof containers in all of Greater Yellowstone's campgrounds, trailheads, landfills, and communities;
  • Develop a program that offsets costs and increases availability of bear spray to hunters, ultimately seeking mandatory bear spray carry regulations in grizzly bear habitat; and
  • Prevent livestock depredation by developing electric fencing, carcass removal, bear patrollers, and range rider programs in partnership with landowners, ranchers, and agencies.


Grizzly populations in the Yellowstone region are isolated. They have been separated from the bear populations in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem in northwest Montana, Idaho, and Canada for over a hundred years. Using the best available science, the Greater Yellowstone Coalition aims to:

  • Help Yellowstone grizzly bears connect and breed with bear populations to the northwest, ensuring genetic diversity and long term health;
  • Work with transportation departments on the construction of wildlife crossing structures on Greater Yellowstone highways; making the landscape more permeable to bears and other wildlife; and
  • Partner with federal management on setting policies that promote natural connectivity.