Cabinet - Purcell Mountain Corridor - Collaborative Projects
Stretching from Missoula, Montana, north to Golden, British Columbia, the Cabinet-Purcell Mountain Corridor (CPMC) serves as a critical linkage zone to reconnect grizzly bear populations in Canada, northern Idaho, and Montana, through central Idaho, with the isolated bear population in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
This vital movement corridor is increasingly fragmented by human activities and developments, such as roads, forestry operations, motorized access into bear habitat, and subdivisions, which have the potential to irreversibly destroy habitat connectivity. Further challenges are conflicts between people and wildlife, especially the attraction of bears to poorly managed garbage facilities.
To address these impediments, a collaborative strategy with a shared vision for the future of the Cabinet-Purcell Mountain Corridor as a healthy conduit for wildlife movement is essential.
Y2Y's Cabinet-Purcell Mountain Corridor Conservation Project
The CPMC project is a multi-faceted transboundary collaborative effort initiated by the Y2Y organization in 2005 that has involved a partner network of more than 60 different organizations, all of whom understand the Corridor's essential role in sustaining continental ecological connectivity and are working collaboratively towards its conservation. The collective vision of this diverse network is to restore and maintain an intact Cabinet-Purcell Mountain Corridor that fosters the maintenance and movement of healthy wildlife populations and resilient ecosystems.
A Collaborative Conservation Framework for the region synthesizes the area's ecological significance and lays out goals that address key threats to wildlife movement in the CPMC. These five project goals include:
- Secure Wildlife Linkage Zones – To create and maintain secure linkage zones that enable wildlife movement throughout the Cabinet-Purcell region between patches of high quality habitat.
- Secure Wildlife Core Habitat – To increase protection of core wildlife habitat (i.e., new parks, wilderness areas or conservation easements).
- Restore Wildlife Linkage Zones and Core Habitat – To ensure that wildlife linkage zones consist of high quality habitat, and core habitats are restored to increase ecological integrity and connectivity on a landscape-scale.
- Transportation Route Mitigation – To enable wildlife movement across transportation routes (i.e., highways, railways) in linkage zones throughout the landscape.
- Reducing Wildlife Mortality – To improve communities' abilities to live responsibly with wildlife.
Some CPMC projects include:
In partnership with The Nature Conservancy (U.S.), Nature Conservancy of Canada, Vital Ground Foundation, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, the Trans-border Grizzly Bear Project, and Nature Trust of British Columbia, Y2Y is working to secure continentally significant linkage zones and core habitat for wildlife, through purchase or easement enabling wildlife movement throughout the region. Learn more about our successfully acquired linkage zones in British Columbia and Montana.
To improve wildlife security and movement, large-scale habitat restoration efforts in the Clearwater National Forest, coordinated by the Nez Perce Tribe and the Clearwater National Forest, are decommissioning and reclaiming roads, followed by monitoring wildlife use. So far, wolves, black bears, moose, deer, and other species have been viewed on camera in the area. This work is enhanced by a Wildlands CPR project that evaluates the effectiveness of road removals and examines the impacts and benefits on wildlife. Results are showing that physically removing roads and restoring native vegetation, as opposed to just simply closing roads, is the best practice as it increases food sources, facilitates travel routes, and ensures habitat security.
- Improper waste management can degrade habitat and linkage zones by attracting wildlife and increasing human-wildlife conflicts. CPMC partners (including the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Defenders of Wildlife, Yaak Valley Forest Council, and the Sierra Club) are working to ensure waste management sites are bear-proofed, reducing the risk of bears accessing human food sources. Examples of waste management practices include, bear-proof garbage containers, electric fenced collection sites, and campground food storage boxes.
- Scientific research conducted by the Trans-border Grizzly Bear Project regarding grizzly bear movement, regional fragmentation, mortality, and habitat issues is contributing to the CPMC conservation strategies and activities. View a copy of the Project's report identifying linkage zones for grizzly bears along BC's Highway 3 here.
- Community educational Bear-Aware programs are helping reduce human-wildlife conflicts.
- Motorized recreation impacts wildlife movement and habitat throughout the Cabinet-Purcell region. The Back on Track - Revving It Up Responsibly brochure aimed to educated motorized recreationists and minimize negative impacts on sensitive ecosystems was produced and distributed throughout the region.
Several factors – including a regional-scale context, dedicated collaborative network, increased scientific understanding, and a successful strategy for acquiring key private lands – come together to create the outstanding achievements of the CPMC project to date.
Partners involved in this project include American Wildlands, Argenta Proterra, B.C. Ministry of Transportation, Bear Aware (Kaslo, Nelson, Kimberly/Cranbrook, Selkirk/Purcell), Birchdale Ecological, Cabinet Yaak Forest Coalition, Centre for Biological Diversity, Clark Fork Coalition, Coeur d'Alene Tribe, Colleges/Universities, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – BC, Defenders of Wildlife, East Kootenay Conservation Program, Earth Justice, Grasslands Conservation Council of British Columbia, Great Bear Foundation, Great Burn Study Group, Hawkins Creek Stewardship Committee, Heart of the Rockies Initiative, Idaho Conservation League, Interdependent Consultants, Jumbo Creek Conservation Society, Keystone Conservation, Ktunaxa Land and Resource Agency, Ktunaxa Inter-Tribal Commission, Kootenai River Network, Mark Creek Recovery Program, Miistakis Institute for the Rockies, Montana Challenge, Montana Department of Transportation, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Montana Trout, Moyie Environmental Group, Natural Resources Defence Council, National Wildlife Federation, Nature Conservancy of Canada, Nature Conservancy of Montana, Nature Trust of British Columbia, Nez Perce Tribe, Purcell Wilderness Alliance, Rock Creek Alliance, Rocky Mountain Trench Society, Selkirk Conservation Alliance, Selkirk/Purcells Grizzly Conservation Project, Sierra Club, The Land Conservancy, The Lands Council, The Wilderness Society, Transboundary Grizzly Bear Project, Trout Unlimited, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, Valhalla Wilderness Society, Vital Ground Foundation, West Kootenay Ecosociety, Western Transportation Institute, Wildlands CPR, Wildsight Invermere, Wildsight Creston, Wildsight Kimberley/Cranbrook, Wildsight Golden, Yaak Valley Forest Council.
Funding for the Y2Y Initiative's work in this Priority Area is graciously provided by Bunting Family Foundation, Clara Jeffrey Charitable Trust, Crown Family Philanthropies, Fanwood Foundation, Patagonia Inc, Wilburforce Foundation, Woodcock Foundation.