Wild Harts - Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative

Wild Harts

Y2Y aims to ensure that the astonishing landscapes and rich biodiversity of the Hart ranges are part of our collective future.

Protection for northern B.C.’s Wild Hart Ranges

Located in the Peace Region of Northern British Columbia (B.C.), the Hart Ranges cover more than 5,200 square miles (13,500 square kilometers).

These majestic ranges we call the “Wild Harts” are home to 37 species listed as red and blue, or considered endangered or threatened by the province of B.C.

They also include much of the remaining ranges of the endangered mountain caribou herds in the area, and multiple alpine plants and insects. With stunning landscapes, abundant wildlands, and unique geological features, the Hart Ranges are beloved by outdoor recreationalists — and wildlife — alike.

Grizzly bears in the Hart Range
A trio of grizzlies roam the Hart ranges. Photo: Tristan Brand

Industrial development in the region

The concern? The Peace Region is riddled with industrial development, with only 4.2 per cent of the region protected in parks and protected areas.

The projection of human population and development trends suggest that the stability and viability of wide-ranging species, including caribou, is in serious doubt. The creeks and rivers here are becoming increasingly polluted, and wildlife habitat more and more fragmented. This not only threatens the health of the ecosystem, but of human beings as well.

The Harts corridor is an intact bridge of quality habitat between larger groups of protected areas. This is what makes the Wild Harts truly wild. The Peace River area is the narrowest point in the entire Yellowstone to Yukon region, and plays an important role linking wildlife moving between protected landscapes to the north and south. The wildlife here rely on this corridor as they move and migrate seasonally to find food, mates, and suitable, safe and productive habitat.

To preserve the wild essence and biodiversity of this area and continue to allow nature and people to thrive within it, Y2Y identified the urgent need to take action.

Researchers in the Hart Range
Photo: Tristan Brand

How we are accomplishing this

Y2Y aims to ensure that the astonishing landscapes and rich biodiversity of the Wild Hart ranges are part of our collective future.

As we look forward to the next stage of our work to protect the Wild Harts, one of the most important impacts on our success will come from people’s support across the geographies of British Columbia. The conservation of this area affects us all. We have to work together to protect the ‘wild’ in the Wild Harts.”

Tim Burkhart, Director of Landscape Protection

To help restore balance to the landscape and reach our goals in the Wild Harts, Y2Y is acting on four key elements:

  • Lay the foundation for more sustainable land-use management through conservation of sensitive alpine and subalpine habitat;
  • Collect research and field samples from sensitive alpine habitat;
  • Use state-of-the-art planning tools to illustrate potential conservation scenarios; and
  • Capture film and photography of the landscape and wildlife and use it communicate the value of this unique region and inspire action.

In July 2018, Y2Y engaged in collaborative fieldwork with seven scientists, natural resource researchers, the West Moberly First Nations and volunteer community members to investigate the ecosystem and collect important samples. Despite challenges of terrain, wildlife and weather, the expedition allowed us to learn more about the landscape, develop valuable partnerships, and raise awareness — a crucial part of protecting this area.

Waterfall in the Hart Range
Photo: Tristan Brand

Who we work with

Thank you to our Wild Harts Expedition partner, the Alpine Club of Canada, whose support leveraged the incredible opportunity to bring together researchers and science communicators in this rugged landscape.

We also worked closely with researchers from the University of Northern British Columbia to build a strong foundation in mapping and modelling conservation priorities and future scenario planning in the region. Stunning photography and videography were captured for Y2Y by filmmaker Tristan Brand.

How you can help

There is still work that needs to be done. As Y2Y continues to do work for the Wild Harts, we need you to do the same. You can help by telling others about this special place:

travel to the Wild Harts

Dive into the experience of the Wild Harts expedition in this CBC Radio feature.

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