Habitat Wins and Other Stories from Across Grizzly Country
Winter has arrived, with snow blanketing the Northern Rockies and bears snug in their dens. Here at Vital Ground, we’re catching our collective breath after an extraordinary finish to 2021. Supporters like you helped us complete several crucial habitat conservation projects in November and December and the Bart the Bear Memorial Campaign soared far past its $250,000 matching challenge, becoming our largest end-of-year fundraiser ever!
All that conservation momentum has generated some great stories from media outlets near and far. Here’s a roundup of news involving Vital Ground projects, partners, and grizzly conservation more broadly—in case you needed a few more items for your 2022 reading list!
- Our final habitat protection effort of 2021, the Kootenai Valley Linkage Project, was a big one! This partnership with the Hubbard Family, the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service and many others conserved 1,040 key acres of farmland and wildlife habitat in northern Idaho’s Selkirk-Purcell intermountain corridor. For a great view of what conservation means to those who know the land best, read Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey’s story on the project in the Sandpoint Reader.
- Earlier in December, supporters like you helped complete another conservation project in one of our One Landscape Initiative’s crucial movement areas for grizzlies and other species. The Tamarack Creek Project conserves 100 acres adjacent to other protected lands west of Glacier National Park and just north of the fast-growing town of Whitefish, Mont. Read up on this important habitat connection via Tristan Scott’s story in the Flathead Beacon and Rob Chaney’s update in the Missoulian.
- Farther south from Glacier, your support helped expand the Upper Swan Valley’s conservation footprint with a land purchase adjacent to an existing Vital Ground conservation easement. Learn about this special wetland habitat with Laura Lundquist’s report in the Missoula Current and our guest column in the Seeley-Swan Pathfinder.
- Western Montana’s wildlife gained a big win in December with the establishment of the new Bad Rock Canyon State Wildlife Management Area, a 772-acre block of habitat that helps connect Glacier-area wildlife with wildlands farther west. We were thrilled to provide one of last year’s partner grants to this big collaborative effort led by Flathead Land Trust and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. Learn more from the Flathead Beacon.
- Stepping back from individual projects, grizzlies and our relationships with them continue to inspire much excellent research and writing. Of particular note are a collaborative paper that sought to measure the success of large-landscape conservation across the Yellowstone-to-Yukon region, which Rob Chaney recapped for the Missoulian, and Oliver Milman of The Guardian’s deeply reported and researched feature on changing grizzly-human dynamics in the Mountain West. And for much more reading on that topic, check out “Grizzlies and Us,” a remarkable compilation of stories from journalists and photojournalists across the Northern Rockies, with a through-line of “the uneasy coexistence of grizzlies and humans.”
- Last but not least, we remain deeply grateful for the outpouring of love and support from so many of you after the death of Vital Ground ambassador Bart the Bear II in November. Many outlets have helped celebrate Bart’s life and conservation legacy, from the Hollywood Reporter and New York Post to Bart’s recent placement on the Salt Lake Tribune’s list of noteworthy Utahns who passed away in 2021.
We’ll cut it off there before you open more browser tabs than a grizzly has claws! To keep the conversation going and get regular updates on grizzly conservation, be sure to follow Vital Ground on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. Thanks again for your support of wildlife and here’s to many more success stories in 2022!