Celebrating 1 million acres of conservation!

North Idaho's Bismark Meadows in Selkirk Mountains
Bismark Meadows in northern Idaho, a 1,000-acre wetland complex providing key spring grizzly habitat, protected by Vital Ground through a 20-year effort completed in 2022.

A Million Reasons for Gratitude—and Motivation

By Ryan Lutey, Executive Director

Ryan Lutey
Ryan Lutey, Executive Director

In our day-to-day business, Vital Ground strives to maintain a laser-like focus on active and future projects, rather than dwelling on what the organization accomplished last year or over the past decade. Supporters like you care more about opportunities that lie ahead than past accomplishments, leaning into the challenges you can personally affect through an investment of time, energy or financial support.

But periodically, it’s worthwhile to celebrate collective successes and milestones as a way of expressing gratitude to the volunteers and supporters who make each win for wildlife possible. As Vital Ground turns the corner on 33 years of working to protect and restore grizzly bear populations for future generations, we find the organization approaching two milestones warranting significant appreciation:

  • By the end of 2023, Vital Ground will reach 1 million acres of habitat protected or enhanced through the combined products of our own land conservation projects and investments made in partners’ efforts; and
  • Through 2023, our Conservation Partners Grant Program will have cumulatively disbursed more than $1 million to other nonprofit, agency and local community partners to prevent conflicts between bears and people.

Vital Ground is being propelled beyond those two noteworthy benchmarks by the ongoing One Landscape Initiative, which has now surpassed $20 million in conservation investments since its launch in 2019. By the start of next year, your support of the One Landscape Initiative during those five years will have resulted in Vital Ground’s completion of 22 conservation easements and land acquisitions benefiting myriad native wildlife species, while simultaneously allowing us to disburse more than 80 individual partner grants to collaborators working to build social tolerance for grizzlies throughout Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.

From all of us on Vital Ground’s staff, board and advisory council, heartfelt thanks for carrying the organization to the forefront of grizzly conservation. Here’s to the next million acres!

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