Looking ahead to 2019 in Greater Yellowstone

While we had a very successful 2018, we’re looking even more forward to the endeavors of 2019. We’ll be wrapping up a few campaigns, diving deeper into some big projects, and keeping an eye out for new issues in the ecosystem that need our attention. We asked our staff what they’re most excited for in the New Year and this is what they had to say.

A couple members of the GYC team outside of our Bozeman office. (Photo GYC.)

A couple members of the GYC team outside of our Bozeman office. (Photo GYC.)

As I contemplate 2019 and what it holds for Greater Yellowstone, I’m most excited about the opportunities we have to engage new people in our mission to protect this remarkable region. Whether it’s working with landowners in Wyoming to protect wildlife migration corridors, organizing irrigators in eastern Idaho to stand against yet another proposed gold mine, introducing new supporters to the magic of Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley, or educating members of the new Congress about the importance of protecting the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, it is always energizing to build deeper and more diverse relationships in support of my favorite place on Earth.

-Scott Christensen, Deputy Director, Bozeman, Montana

More than ever, we see how water sustains more than just our simple daily needs. We see how water in the form of creeks, rivers, and wetland meadows connect us to the wild world around us. The prospects of folks that ranch and farm land in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) are also dependent on clean, clear water. We swim, float, and fish immersed in these ribbons of life. In the year ahead, we look forward to working with the our varied partner communities to preserve, protect, and restore the waters of the GYE.

-Bob Zimmer, Waters Program Coordinator, Bozeman, Montana

Exploring the Custer Gallatin National Forest in winter. (Photo Louise Johns.)

Exploring the Custer Gallatin National Forest in winter. (Photo Louise Johns.)

Making a plan! Yes, it may not sound exciting, however, I’m thrilled to work with the Custer Gallatin National Forest Service to finish the forest plan. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity in 2019 to get our opinions, knowledge, and voices to the forest service about what we love and want to see happen for the Custer Gallatin National Forest. We can make a difference!

-Darcie Warden, Montana Conservation Coordinator, Bozeman, Montana

Growing up on the west coast, I didn’t have an appreciation for seasons until I moved to the GYE. Now, I find myself anticipating the transition between seasons, excited for the unique attributes of each one. The shift from winter to spring is one of my favorites; it contrasts the relief of making it through another long, tough winter with the optimism of fresh, new life. Last spring I had an amazing trip to Yellowstone, where I saw more babies than ever before. As I watched them play and trot after their mothers, I felt incredibly lucky that wild places like Yellowstone, where nature can act as it was intended, still exist.

-Erin Deleissegues, Facilities and Operations Associate, Bozeman, Montana

Bison herd in Yellowstone National Park. (Photo Cindy Goeddel.)

Bison herd in Yellowstone National Park. (Photo Cindy Goeddel.)

As we head in to 2019, I’m filled with hope and excitement for new opportunities and partnerships in creating a better future for Yellowstone bison. I look forward to working with Yellowstone National Park’s new superintendent, Cam Sholly, as well as many others to find a creative path forward for moving bison destined for slaughter, out of greater Yellowstone “alive” and on to tribal and public lands.  My hope is that Yellowstone bison will soon be an integral part in the ecological and cultural restoration of wildlife on appropriate lands across the American West and that one day this iconic species will truly roam free outside the Park like other Yellowstone wildlife, no longer subjected to antiquated hazing and slaughter.

-Shana Drimal, Wildlife Program Associate, Bozeman, Montana