A bipartisan bill for America’s lands, water, wildlife and people - Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative

A bipartisan bill for America’s lands, water, wildlife and people

Grand Teton National Park Service

You are supporting connections for and with nature

In a world that’s felt somewhat uncertain these past few months, we want to prioritize celebrating the moments that not only give us hope for the days to come, but also ones that show progress for wildlife, wild places and people.

There are many pieces that must work together to make conservation successful, and government support is one of them.

Politics are complicated, and the political landscape can feel polarizing. However, when we take a step back to look at the bigger picture of our actions, it becomes clear that many of us seek similar outcomes – a better future for our kids and grandkids, clean water and air, and beautiful, healthy wild places to enjoy for years to come.

Now, it’s more important than ever to join together in supporting decisions that help people and safeguard the nature that keeps us healthy.

That’s why we are celebrating a recent and exciting conservation win for people and wildlife in the Yellowstone to Yukon region that has gained overwhelming bipartisan political support in the United States: the passing of the Great American Outdoors Act. The nearly equal divide of support on this bill means that opposing political parties are working towards common goals for the greater good, even if from different perspectives.

Nature is something that we all have in common. At its core, it is what has connected humanity since the very beginning.

It was in July 2020 that the U.S. Congress passed the Great American Outdoors Act. And in August, the President of the United States signed the bill into law – a massive step forward for public lands, wildlife and people across the country.

The bill invests more than $9 billion in public lands maintenance backlog in America’s beloved national parks. It also provides full, permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) – more specifically, $900 million per year in LWCF funds. This is a true investment in conservation, recreation, and local parks and access to the great outdoors.

LWCF funds have already made a difference in the Yellowstone to Yukon region.

For instance, these funds have protected thousands of acres around Henry’s Lake in Island Park, Idaho — an area that is a priority migration corridor for elk, moose, deer and antelope and also a known movement corridor for grizzlies from Yellowstone to the Centennial Mountain Range. Funds have also helped secure 20,000 acres (8,094 hectares) along the South Fork of the Snake River in Idaho — a gravel bed river system that is the most biodiverse ecosystem in all of Idaho.

Bull moose. Credit: National Park Service

LWCF has provided over $639 million for projects in Montana. One example of LWCF’s impact is the $16 million that went towards protecting approximately 8,700 acres (3,521 hectares) by working with willing sellers in the High Divide area of Montana and Idaho in 2016. This included funding for projects in Montana’s wildlife-rich Big Hole and Centennial Valleys.

In Wyoming, LWCF has helped purchase key land from willing sellers in Grand Teton National Park, and protect crucial winter range along the Snake River south of Jackson, Wyoming.

You are part of a community that gives us hope

Earlier this year, we asked for your help to move this bill forward – and here we are!

Whether you told your senator to support this important step forward for wildlife and people in the United States, or are one of Y2Y’s essential monthly donors, your voice and support has been instrumental.

The road to achieving conservation milestones like this can be a bumpy one, and perspectives don’t always align; but nature is something that we all have in common. At its core, it is what has connected humanity since the very beginning.

The support that you provide as a donor, a voice for wildlife and wild places, and a vital part of the conservation community, is a reminder of this connection that we all share. Your support gives us hope, and we are grateful for that.