Habitat Project:

Bull River Linkage

Protecting a key pathway into Idaho for northwestern Montana’s grizzlies and much more.

Bull River-Clark Fork confluence area
Aspen trees and mountains
Cedar grove and stream
Clark Fork River and mountains
Bull River-Clark Fork confluence area Aspen trees and mountains Cedar grove and stream Clark Fork River and mountains

Bull River Linkage PROJECT BRIEF

The Selway-Bitterroot Ecosystem extends from the western edge of Montana across a wide swath of central Idaho. One of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s designated grizzly bear recovery zones, this historic habitat remains without a documented resident grizzly population.

But conservation biologists believe the Bitterroot landscape could become the missing puzzle piece in connecting Greater Yellowstone’s grizzlies with populations farther north. That makes protecting pathways from western Montana into the Bitterroot Mountains a top priority, and Vital Ground is hard at work on it.

Descending from the peaks of the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness, the Bull River flows into the Clark Fork River just east of the Montana-Idaho border, with the Bitterroots sprawling on the Clark Fork’s far side. But State Highway 200 and pockets of development make this crucial linkage area a trick patchwork for bears and other wildlife to navigate. Through three land acquisitions in recent years, Vital Ground and the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y) have conserved over 150 contiguous acres as open space in the middle of this corridor, giving grizzlies a better chance of moving between ecosystems. Read more…

Bull River Linkage at a Glance

  • 151 acres protected through three land acquisitions
  • Key wildlife linkage area between Cabinet-Yaak and Selway-Bitterroot ecosystems
  • Joint project with Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative
  • Could help connect Greater Yellowstone grizzlies with northern populations