Habitat Project:

Kennedy Creek

Conserving crucial buffer habitat outside Glacier National Park and returning ownership to the Blackfeet Nation.

Chief Mountain and Glacier National Park from the Blackfeet Indian Reservation
Kennedy Creek vegetation

Photo by Mitch Doherty

Grizzly sow and cub in Glacier National Park
Bull trout
Chief Mountain and Glacier National Park from the Blackfeet Indian Reservation Kennedy Creek vegetation Grizzly sow and cub in Glacier National Park Bull trout

Kennedy Creek PROJECT BRIEF

Led by co-founders Doug and Lynne Seus and ambassador Bart the Bear II, Vital Ground celebrated our 30th anniversary with an especially meaningful conservation success: purchasing a 74-acre private inholding surrounded by tribal lands east of Glacier National Park and returning it to the ownership and stewardship of the Blackfeet Nation.

Kennedy Creek flows from mountain headwaters in Glacier through the project area, creating lush habitat frequented by grizzlies, moose, bull trout and many other species. The waterway also passes near Yellow Mountain and Chief Mountain, prominent sacred sites in Blackfeet cultural traditions.

“I am very pleased that Vital Ground was able to partner with the Blackfeet Nation to protect the ecological integrity of the Chief Mountain-Yellow Mountain area,” says Buzz Cobell, Director of Blackfeet Nation Fish and Wildlife. “Kennedy Creek is inhabited by one of the few populations of bull trout existing on the east slope of the Rocky Mountains. In addition, this area is used extensively by grizzly bears, moose, elk, deer and other important wildlife species. Thanks to our collaborative efforts this special area will continue to be wild and undeveloped.”

The area’s combined cultural and ecological significance spurred the Seuses to lead the project. After founding Vital Ground in 1990, the couple purchased 240 acres of prime grizzly habitat south of the Blackfeet Reservation along the Rocky Mountain Front.

Bart the Bear II—a Vital Ground ambassador and famed animal actor adopted by the Seuses as an orphaned cub—provided further inspiration and support for the project. His predecessor, Bart the Bear, motivated the Seuses to establish Vital Ground on behalf of wild grizzlies and all that share their range.

“We thank the Blackfeet Tribal Council for such strong leadership in shielding biodiversity,” Doug and Lynne Seus said in a statement. “This project carries benefits for every living thing that stretch far beyond lines on a map. We know Bart is grateful for the opportunity to fund a significant land acquisition, home to a bounty of wildlife and an impressive list of plants.”

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Kennedy Creek at a Glance

  • 74 acres, former private inholding returned to Blackfeet Nation
  • Includes lush habitat along Kennedy Creek just east of Glacier National Park
  • Important buffer zone for grizzlies moving in and out of Glacier Park
  • Provides habitat for one of the few bull trout populations east of Glacier