Pulling up abandoned roads helps restore an area to its natural state. Image: Karsten Heuer
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Robyn King - Yaak Valley Forest Council
"Here at Yaak Valley Forest Council we’ve restored dozens of old logging roads and degraded streams as part of the Yahk to Yaak project. Not only are we seeing native trout repopulating local streams and grizzly bears returning to their historic ranges, but this work is also creating good paying jobs for the local economy."


Robyn King, Executive Director, Yaak Valley Forest Council


Yahk to Yaak

Yahk to Yaak
Photo: Yaak Valley Forest Council.
Y2Y is leading an effort to restore the degraded habitat in this important trans-boundary region that links two key areas in B.C. and Montana.

Y2Y is leading an effort to restore the degraded habitat in this important trans-boundary region that links two key areas in British Columbia (B.C.) and Montana. 


Stretching across the U.S. Canada border, the Cabinet-Purcell Mountain Corridor (CPMC) is one of the few areas in the Yellowstone to Yukon region where grizzly bears can move back and forth between these two countries. Degraded habitat, limited protected areas and roads—from highways to forest roads—have all played a part in limiting the ability of wildlife to cross this stretch of iconic land. What limits wildlife connections also limits the ecological condition of the land.

Yahk to Yaak Project Map


Starting near Cranbrook, B.C., and across the border into Montana lies the Yahk/Yaak (same river, just different spelling) River drainage. This region has been identified as high priority linkage area that, if restored, would have significant benefits to wildlife and its habitat.


Yahk to Yaak vegetation survey
Students conducting vegetation survey as part of the Yahk to Yaak project.
Y2Y is leading an effort created by a collaborative of 60-plus conservation organizations, land trusts, government agencies and Native Americans/First Nations to restore the critical Yahk to Yaak linkage zone.

In 2013, Y2Y secured funding to support and coordinate a suite of on-the-ground projects that will improve grizzly bear habitat, make it easier for them to move through the landscape, and connect habitat from B.C.’s portion of the CPMC, through Montana and into Yellowstone National Park. Habitat restoration will also focus on renewing watersheds for aquatic species, such as bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout.

These projects include:

  • A Y2Y-led analysis of wildlife-vehicle collisions along Montana’s Highway 2 to determine the most cost-effective way to make the highway safer for wildlife and people. This builds on the work already conducted in Idaho’s portion of Highway 2. 
  • Supporting our conservation partners in programs that will help wildlife and humans live together. 
  • Habitat restoration projects that include decommissioning old forest roads, restoring streams and their banks to their original state and removing invasive plants. 
  • Monitoring and evaluating usage of restored habitat by wildlife to determine fine-scale connectivity, as well as a climate change analysis.

Together, these projects will make both a regional and continental-scale difference to connectivity.


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(This wildlife camera captures a healthy black bear roaming in this recently restored area in the Yahk to Yaak project region.)


Defenders of Wildlife
Vital Ground
Yaak Valley Forest Council
Kootenai National Forest
Western Transportation Institute
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

Related Information:

Habitat Restoration
Cabinet-Purcell Mountain Corridor


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Go behind the scenes in a remote region

— Posted on Oct 23, 2017 09:41 AM in: Updates from the Field
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— Posted on Dec 06, 2016 03:15 PM in: Updates from the Field
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— Posted on Jan 25, 2016 12:44 PM in: Updates from the Field
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Wildlife Cameras in Yahk to Yaak

— Posted on Mar 18, 2015 12:24 PM in: Updates from the Field
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Was That Actually a Road?

— Posted on Oct 18, 2014 09:30 AM in: Updates from the Field
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