Flying the High Divide
The High Divide is a key priority area for Y2Y, since it forms a central link for core protected areas in the U.S. portion of the Yellowstone to Yukon landscape, connecting the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem with surrounding wilderness areas, such as Idaho’s Frank Church Wilderness and the Crown of the Continent to the north.
Famous for its expansive ranches, abundance of fish and wildlife, and scenic beauty, the area is one of North America’s most ecologically important natural landscapes.
To see exactly what’s at stake in the effort to connect and protect this beautiful region, Kim Trotter, Y2Y’s U.S. Program Director, joined partners from the Greater Yellowstone Coalition to fly high above the High Divide—all thanks to Eco Flight, a Colorado-based company that uses small aircraft to provide aerial perspectives to aid in wilderness and wildlife habitat protection.
The recent flight covered eastern Idaho’s Teton River and Henry’s Fork of the Snake River, as well as Montana's Centennial Mountains, the Red Rocks National Wildlife Refuge and Interstate 15, which links the two states.
The flyover gave Trotter and partners a birds-eye view of the region’s wildlife corridors, which are critically important for a range of species, including grizzly bears, wolverine, big horn sheep and elk. It also showed some of the increasing threats to wildlife habitat and connectivity is the area, such as busy highways and other forms of development.
Y2Y will continue to work with local partners to build a conservation vision for the High Divide; one that preserves the region’s wildlife habitat and connectivity, especially as more people move in and through the area, and the climate change continues to alter the landscape.