CONFLICT PREVENTION PROJECT:

Pink Bench Distilling

Developing a fruit-gleaning program in the Cabinet-Yaak.

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Pink Bench Distilling PROJECT BRIEF

Lots of communities provide gleaning programs to help landowners with fruit trees prevent conflicts with hungry bears, but the Kootenai Fruit Gleaning Program in conjunction with Pink Bench Distilling is going one step further to turn this collected fruit into fodder for delicious drinks. And they’re doing so in the midst of one of the Lower 48’s most vulnerable grizzly populations. With only an estimated 60 bears in the Cabinet-Yaak Recovery Zone, even one bear becoming food-conditioned and being removed could have a significant impact on the genetic diversity and long term health of the overall population.

With support from Vital Ground and other community partners, Kootenai Fruit and Pink Bench were able to identify historic high-conflict areas to prioritize and develop outreach materials for increasing participation in the gleaning program. They also attended community events like the Troy Farmer’s Market Apple Festival to spread the word about their gleaning service, new distillery and the importance of securing attractants to protect the people and wildlife who contribute to the special character of this region.

Pink Bench Distilling at a glance

  • Bringing fruit-gleaning to the communities of northwestern Montana
  • Preventing conflicts to help the recovering Cabinet-Yaak grizzly population
  • Using gleaned fruit to start a local, women-run distillery
  • Attending community events to share information about attractants and bears