Embracing a bright future together: Southwestern Albertans lead the way to sustainability   - Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative

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Embracing a bright future together: Southwestern Albertans lead the way to sustainability  

Because this place is home. Embracing a bright future for Southwest Alberta

Because this place is home

The rolling foothills and mountains in and among the towns of southwestern Alberta are beautiful and well loved.

They also face increasing pressure from development and recreation use. Not to mention the impacts of climate change, including decreasing snowpacks and extreme weather. However, communities are using the spirit and energy of the past to forge a new path. The people of Pincher Creek, Crowsnest Pass, Bragg Creek, High River and other communities of the eastern slopes of the Rockies are working to shape a future that is not just prosperous, but sustainable. 



The folks who have lived and worked here for generations are no strangers to collaboration or facing diversity. Drawing on the strength of their varied backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives, they are forging a future that celebrates diversity, encourages sustainable decisions, and safeguards the rich wildlife, heritage and nature that make these places extraordinary.

Discover the faces of change in our new videos and 2022 report

These stories spotlight how southwest Alberta’s communities are embracing nature-positive growth.

Meet the champions leading the way:

“We’re raising a herd of plains bison to be utilized for cultural and ecological restoration. If everything goes right, it’ll be Blood Tribe-owned and operated. It’ll be a way for us to sustain ourselves economically on a reserve, which is something that hasn’t been seen in a very long time

Justin Bruised Head, Kainai Buffalo Rematriation Project
From left to right: Justin Bruised Head, Kainai Buffalo Rematriation Project, Jochem Fahr, Fahr Brewing, Heather Davis, Uplift Adventures, Kaycee Peters, Cowboy Meats, and new resident Laura Rance.

The path forward: Recommendations for a nature-positive future

In our 2022 report, Y2Y engaged southwest Alberta communities in an exploration of opportunities to grow and diversify local economies while sustaining the region’s waters, wilderness and wildlife.

The report was based on the unfiltered feedback of the members of southwest Alberta communities, Indigenous groups and community members. 

“Whatever we can do to prevent any further destruction of these areas, we’re going to try and do that and will continue to look out for future generations,” a community feedback session participant said. “That includes all of Alberta’s people in these areas—ranchers, guiding outfits—it’s important to maintain the integrity of these locations.”

“Whatever we can do to prevent any further destruction of these areas, we’re going to try and do that and will continue to look out for future generations”

A quote from a community feedback session participant.

A shared vision for southwestern Alberta’s future is emerging as we continue to gather, talk and collaborate. Each community will do things in a way that makes sense for them, but common themes include steps to:

We can create a more sustainable future through proactive land use planning and development. This approach is addressing needs for affordable housing, protection of wildlife and nature while supporting sustainable industry and improving human-wildlife coexistence.

Envisioning a nature-positive future from Yellowstone to Yukon

Y2Y works to advance nature-positive solutions throughout the region with information, inspiration and tools so that both people and wildlife can thrive.

The breathtaking landscapes, diverse ecosystems and abundant wildlife in the towns of Southwest Alberta have always been a source of pride for the residents. They can be the best stewards of the land, protecting and preserving it for generations to come. What happens here can set an example for the world. Communities can demonstrate that a future characterized by environmental stewardship, economic prosperity and social inclusion is not only achievable, but necessary.

Focusing on responsible development will ensure the well-being of both the community and our natural world. The mountain communities of the Yellowstone to Yukon region can serve as a shining beacon of hope. They remind us that by working together, we can shape a future that honors our past, celebrates our present and safeguards our planet for the future.

Additional information:

This project was generously supported by Alberta Ecotrust and the Government of Alberta’s Community Initiatives Program.

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