Hiking in the Yukon. Image: Pat Morrow
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Teaming Up Along the Waterton Front

Y2Y’s 2015 Ted Smith Award rewards three groups working to protect core habitat and wildlife corridors along southern Alberta’s Waterton Front.

If you drive south from Pincher Creek on southern Alberta’s Highway 6, you’re in for some amazing scenery.

Approaching Waterton Lakes National Park, the Waterton Front presents itself as a wall of snow-dusted mountains overlooking rolling green ridges and farmland.

Within the park’s jagged mountain peaks and lush valleys, diverse wildlife still run the show—including healthy populations of grizzlies, wolves, cougars, moose and elk.

Photo: Stephen Legault.

Here at a narrow section of the Rockies, the park’s prime wildlife habitat is bordered closely by vast ranches and other forms of human development, which pinch vital movement corridors and increase human-wildlife interactions. It’s a major issue for wide-ranging species that use this natural corridor to cross the U.S.-Canada border along Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park.

Fortunately, a few laudable conservation groups have been doing all the right things to connect and protect wildlife habitat in the area, including working closely with local ranchers who share their land with its wild inhabitants. In the long-term effort to keep the Waterton Front as wild as possible, three organizations stand out above all others: the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Southern Alberta Land Trust Society and the Waterton Biosphere Reserve Association.

To reward their collaborative efforts, Y2Y jointly presented the 2015 Ted Smith Award for Conservation Collaboration to all three organizations.

The award recognizes the groups' collective efforts to conserve this critical habitat, including their collaborative work in helping ranchers and other landowners to peacefully co-exist with wildlife here and throughout southern Alberta.

Y2Y established the Ted Smith Award in 2014 to commemorate the life and achievements of Ted Smith—a visionary conservationist and passionate ambassador for the Yellowstone to Yukon vision, who was unwavering in his commitment to working collectively toward shared goals.

Photo: Stephen Legault.