Since the Yellowstone to Yukon vision took hold in 1993, more than 450 partner groups have joined forces to connect and protect this stunning landscape so people and nature can thrive. Progress over the past 25 years is astounding. 

Since 1993, the actions of Y2Y and partners have resulted in a more than 50 percent increase in key protected area growth.

These areas are critical in ensuring functional wildlife corridors that connect protected landscapes and allow wildlife to roam. Y2Y constantly consults with its partners to determine that the land represented on this map is being managed to support connectivity. 

Progress together

To see our progress since 1993, slide the white bar from side to side.

These maps show the increase in protected areas* from 11 to 21 percent within the Yellowstone to Yukon region, while better management practices have improved conservation** across an additional 30 percent of lands. 

This map was last updated in December 2014.

* Lands represented as ‘protected’ in both maps include: Canadian National Parks and Reserves, Alberta Wilderness Areas, Alberta Wilderness Parks, Alberta Provincial Parks, B.C. Provincial Parks, B.C. Conservancies, B.C. Ecological Reserves, NWT Parcels of Conservation Interest, Yukon Territorial Parks, Yukon Wilderness Preserves, Yukon Peel River Protected Areas, U.S. National Parks, U.S. Wilderness and U.S. National Monuments.

**Other Conservation Designations include: Provincial Natural Areas, Recreation Areas, High Conservation Value Forests, Special Management Zones, Territorial Conservation Zones, Natural Environment Parks, Restricted Use Wilderness Areas, U.S. Grizzly Bear Recovery Zones, National Recreation Areas and Rivers, Roadless Rule Lands, National Wild and Scenic Rivers, USFS Administrative Designations and Private Conservancy Lands.

Major achievements in the Yellowstone to Yukon region

Achieving the Yellowstone to Yukon vision demands multiple approaches and the joint efforts of many local groups. Here are some examples of outcomes that the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative along with its partners, have realized:

  • Established two new national park reserves, Nahanni (2009) and Naats’ihch’oh (2013), that together are equivalent in size to four Yellowstone National Parks. 
  • Collaboratively purchased 550,000 ac (200,000 ha) of private lands, which secure key wildlife movement routes. 
  • Collaboratively helped influence the B.C. government to officially ban oil or gas development on 400,000 ac (161,874 ha) of land in B.C.’s Flathead River Valley. 
  • Facilitated the purchase for conservation of 17,660 ac (7,150 ha) in B.C.’s Flathead and Elk River Valleys. 
  • Established the Muskwa-Kechika Management Area, a 16-million-ac (6.5-million-ha) complex of protected lands and special management zones. 
  • Inspired the addition of wildlife overpasses on Highway 1 through Banff National Park. These structures have decreased wildlife-vehicle collisions by 80%, have enabled more than 140,000 animal crossings, and have been proven to promote gene flow. 
  • Influenced Montana Department of Transportation to require wildlife-friendly fencing along state highways in places recommended by state biologists.  
  • Since 2013, more than 600 mi. (1,000 km) of highway across Alberta, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming are in the process of becoming wildlife friendly. 
  • Funded more than 40 projects that assist people to coexist with wildlife, including erecting electric fences, reducing wildlife attractants, supporting bear spray rental programs and more. 
  • Persuaded the Alberta government to list the province’s grizzly bear population as “Threatened”, opening the door to greater protection. 
  • Influenced a new southern Alberta Land-Use Plan that creates new parks and sets the stage for legislated connectivity zones in the province.
  • Commissioned essential research that informed a review panel’s assessment that negative impacts of the proposed Site C dam on wildlife and other values, in the critical connection along the Peace River in northern B.C., are not justified. 

  • Decommissioned 25+ mi (40+ km) of road and returned it to natural habitat. 
  • Restored 41+ mi (66+ km) of streams to their natural state. 
  • Treated 1,706+ ac (690+ ha) of land for invasive plant species to allow the growth of native species. 
  • Planted 1440+ native trees to restore habitat to its natural state. 
  • Helped bring more than $45 million of new conservation funding into the Yellowstone to Yukon region. 
  • Authored or commissioned more than 30 technical research studies that provide the scientific rationale to guide conservation work in the region. 
  • In 1998, sponsored then wildlife-biologist Karsten Heuer, who hiked the Yellowstone to Yukon region. His book Walking the Big Wild has enamored, inspired and educated thousands of readers. 
  • Inspired countless print, art and film projects that highlight the beauty of the Yellowstone to Yukon region and its need for protection including: a story on CBC’s The Nature of Things, a National Geographic book Yellowstone to Yukon, Yellowstone to Yukon Freedom to Roam and an internationally acclaimed art exhibit Yellowstone to Yukon: The Journey of Wildlife and Art to name a few. 
  • Y2Y media exposure has reached more than 90 million people and underscored the value of the Yellowstone to Yukon vision. 

Information on this page was last updated December 2014.

Header photo of grizzly bear and cub: Shutterstock