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Walking the Big Wild: From Yellowstone to the Yukon on the Grizzly Bears' Trail

Author: Karsten Heuer

Walking the Big WildFrom the Publisher: Wildlife in North America is under pressure, both from hunters and poachers and from habitat loss. Bears and other large animals naturally wander across an enormous range but increasingly Walking the Big Wildthey are safe only in isolated, protected parks that are hemmed in by human development and the imprisoned bears are in danger of becoming inbred. If only the islands of safety could be connected by corridors of preserved habitat to allow free movement by animals like bears, then an enormous problem in conservation would be solved.

Karsten Heuer’s journey was intended to show that such a system of parks and corridors is feasible. He set out in June 1998 from Yellowstone Park, Wyoming, on the beginning of a 3,400 kilometre hike that would end, 18 months later, in Watson Lake, Yukon Territory. Along the way, he faced personal problems, including the breakup of his relationship with the woman who had planned the journey with him. He came to terms with difficult public relations problems when he spoke to loggers and others with a stake in the economic exploitation of wild lands. And, above all, he overcame extraordinary physical challenges: ferocious storms, avalanches, apparently impassable rivers in full flood, and bears that mistook him for dinner.

Accompanied by occasional human companions and a remarkable border collie named Webster, Heuer demonstrated that there is nearly continuous wilderness up and down the length of the Rocky Mountains, much of it still occupied by bears, all of it still salvageable if the right decisions are made soon.

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