Habitat Project:

Broadie Habitat Preserve

Protecting a key habitat link across the Yaak Valley in Montana’s northwestern corner.

Yaak River in Broadie Habitat Preserve

Photo by Mitch Doherty

Broadie Habitat Preserve
Yaak River in Broadie Habitat Preserve Broadie Habitat Preserve

Broadie Habitat Preserve PROJECT BRIEF

Tucked amid the rugged mountains and dense forest of Montana’s northwestern corner, the Yaak Valley hosts one of North America’s smallest, most vulnerable grizzly bear populations.

Biologists estimate that just 25-30 grizzlies endure in the Yaak and studies show them to be largely isolated from neighboring bears in Idaho, British Columbia and other Montana wildlands. Of those couple dozen grizzlies, just a handful are females in their reproductive years.

In other words, the Yaak’s grizzly population lives in real danger of blinking out entirely. These bears are a resilient bunch, but they may need help to survive the decades to come.

Vital Ground and the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are providing some of that help. With the Trust providing a grant enabling the project, Vital Ground purchased 215 acres of prime grizzly habitat along the Yaak River and Lap Creek in the spring of 2020, establishing the Broadie Habitat Preserve. Beyond helping grizzlies, the effort supports a mosaic of biodiversity, including the nationally threatened Canada lynx and bull trout along with state-designated species of concern such as wolverine and Westslope cutthroat trout.

The project carrys conservation impact far beyond the preserve itself. The site borders Kootenai National Forest lands to the east and west and other conserved private lands to the north and south, meaning its protection solidifies a safe corridor across the Yaak Valley bottom for wildlife of many sizes and habitat needs. The project site includes the confluence of the Yaak River and Lap Creek, with the two waterways making a large portion of the preserve particularly valuable riparian habitat.

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Broadie Habitat Preserve at a Glance

  • 215 acres along Yaak River
  • Owned by Vital Ground
  • Partner project with Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust; key support from Galesi Family Foundation, Pegasus Foundation and Whitefish Community Foundation.
  • Connects public land strongholds on both sides of valley bottom