Y2Y helped establish Nahanni National Park Reserve in 2009. Huffington Post calls it "one of the best national parks in the world." Image: Peter Mather
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"Protecting habitat (area) is as important as maintaining connectivity. In some cases the best way of preventing isolation is to protect large areas."


Mark Hebblewhite
Biologist and Y2Y Board Member

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Protected Areas & Public Lands


Protected areas, such as national, state and provincial parks, managed to support wildlife and ecosystems are critical to maintain healthy ecosystems throughout the Yellowstone to Yukon region. Unfortunately, large sections of habitat on which wildlife depend to survive remain unprotected and vulnerable to development.

Coal Mining Flathead. Image: Garth Lenz iLCP Flathead Rave
Open-pit coal mining continues to threaten certain regions in the trans-boundary Flathead River Valley. Image: Garth Lenz iLCP Flathead Rave
Approximately 20 per cent of the entire Yellowstone to Yukon region is private or tribal land. The rest of the landscape is most often owned by the federal government in the U.S. and by the provinces or territories in Canada. Despite these ownership levels, only some 20 per cent of the entire Yellowstone to Yukon landscape is protected in parks, wilderness or private conservancies.

Most public land is open to multiple uses, including mining, drilling, forest harvesting, energy development and associated infrastructure such as roads and pipelines. Public motorized access adds to the cumulative impact on wildlife, ecosystems and our ability to deal with a changing climate. Additionally, few lands – protected or not – are managed to prioritize wildlife’s need to use and move through that landscape. This jeopardizes continental connectivity.


Grizzly bears crossing one of the many water systems found in the Yukon's Peel Watershed. Image: Peter Mather
Grizzly bears crossing one of the many water systems found in the Yukon's Peel Watershed. Image: Peter Mather
There are a number of key unprotected core habitats that have been identified as strategically valuable for supporting wildlife and critical ecosystems. Many, like Yukon’s Peel Watershed or British Columbia’s (B.C.) Flathead River Valley, remain untouched, with low populations and few roads. Keeping these places wild is vital for the future of hundreds of species. Additionally, many governments are engaged in land-use planning processes that open the door to improved management to support wildlife connectivity.


Y2Y is leading, partnering and supporting our partners to gain additional protection for a number of strategically valuable landscapes in the Yellowstone to Yukon region.


Themes.Protected Map with legendPeel Watershed
: Seven times larger than Yellowstone or Jasper national park, Y2Y is supporting our partners to protect 80 per cent of the Yukon’s Peel Watershed.

Alberta Headwaters: Y2Y is leading an initiative to ensure that Alberta’s land-use plans, which will determine the area’s land use for the next 50 years, protect Alberta’s headwaters.

Flathead Wild: The incredible wildlife and ecosystems of this region make it extremely important from a conservation perspective. Y2Y and our partners are working towards conservation of the area to ensure habitat values and connectivity are maintained here. 


Donate: Make a donation to help protect essential habitat in the Yellowstone to Yukon region and ensure nature has what it needs to sustain life. See how we use your donation dollars.

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Related Information:


Private Lands

Greater Mackenzie Mountains

Central Canadian Rocky Mountains

Crown of the Continent

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UNESCO Calls for Mining Prohibition in Flathead River Valley

— Posted on Jun 20, 2010 01:00 PM in: Updates from the Field
UNESCO Calls for Mining Prohibition in Flathead River Valley

A UNESCO World Heritage report is recommending a permanent prohibition on mining in the Flathead River Valley.

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