Over the last 30 years we have learned that grizzly bears can thrive in Greater Yellowstone’s wild places. We also know that roads and backcountry development threaten the great bear’s ability to persist. In fact, the greatest predictor of grizzly bear mortality is road density. Most of the core grizzly bear habitat in Greater Yellowstone is found on the region’s wild public lands and is managed by agencies such as the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service.
Protecting large roadless areas on public lands from development and advocating for permanent wilderness designations is crucial for maintaining a healthy bear population. But, ranches and other private lands also provide essential habitat for grizzlies, providing the “connective tissue” as they cross valley bottoms and move along waterways at low elevation. Protecting large blocks of open country on both public and private lands is key for bear survival.
Our strategy is two pronged:
- Secure new protections for the region’s roadless backcountry and defend public lands from inappropriate development.
- Create partnerships with land trust organizations to protect key private lands in grizzly habitat. Using the best available science as our guide, we are working to secure new land protections for southwest Montana’s Gallatin Range and private lands throughout the High Divide, as well as critical lands in Idaho’s Henry’s Fork watershed.
Protect the Gallatin Range
The Gallatin Range is the only remaining large roadless mountain range emanating from Yellowstone National Park that lacks permanent protection.
- The Range’s rugged peaks and alpine meadows are home to grizzly bears, wolverines, elk, and bighorn sheep, and the world renowned Gallatin River is born here. The Gallatin Range is also a beloved playground for backcountry enthusiasts, such as backpackers, hunters, and rock climbers.
- GYC is leading the charge to develop a community supported wilderness proposal that ensures 230,000 acres of grizzly habitat receives the protection it deserves.
Private Land Conservation Matching Funds
- Approximately 3.5 million acres of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are privately owned.
- When private lands are subdivided for residential development, grizzlies effectively lose access to these habitats and the potential for future human-bear conflict explodes. To avoid these outcomes, we seek to accelerate and expand the scale of private land conservation in grizzly bear habitat.
- Donations to our Grizzly Bear Campaign will be used as private matching funds in strategic collaboration with land trust partners to secure conservation easements and acquisitions from willing landowners in critical grizzly bear habitat. Raising significant funds will allow us to be nimble and proactive, and address the critical need for private matching funds when conservation opportunities are time sensitive.