Cabinet-Purcell Mountain Corridor
The Cabinet-Purcell Mountain Corridor (CPMC) is one of only two remaining areas in the Yellowstone to Yukon region where grizzly bears can move back and forth between Canada and the U.S. (the other is the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem).
This priority area, covering more than 43,750 square miles (70,000 km2) and representing approximately nine per cent of the entire Yellowstone to Yukon region, extends from Golden, British Columbia (B.C.), south to Missoula, Montana, and encompasses the Purcell, Cabinet, Selkirk and Bitterroot mountain ranges. It includes several wet-belt forests and the headwaters of many important salmon and trout rivers, which supply drinking and irrigation water for millions of people downstream.
Value to Yellowstone to Yukon Vision
The CPMC is one of the most important linkages in the entire Yellowstone to Yukon region that allows wildlife to move from one key area to another. It borders three priority areas – Central Canadian Rocky Mountains, Crown of the Continent and the Salmon-Selway-Bitterroot, which each hold national parks or wilderness including Banff National Park and Glacier-Waterton International Peace Park. Wildlife move through the CPMC to reach these neighboring protected habitats.
As a result, the CPMC plays two vital roles. First, it serves as a critical trans-boundary link that connects wildlife populations in southeastern B.C. with those in northern Idaho and western Montana. It also plays a vital role in restoring grizzly bears to central Idaho’s Salmon-Selway-Bitteroot — the largest roadless area in the lower 48 States. Restoring bears to this region is an essential step toward reconnecting the isolated grizzly population in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem to its northern cousins in the Canadian Rockies and the Crown of the Continent.
ThreatsThere are some significant national and provincial protected lands in the Canadian Cabinet-Purcell region, but otherwise little is protected. Many species of wildlife exist in small pockets of land fragmented by roads, towns and other human development. A legacy of forestry roads, proposed mines and an interstate highway contribute to the challenges. This means successful coexistence of humans and wildlife here is vital. Together, these challenges threaten the ability of wildlife populations to move and stay connected. Ultimately, this threatens the survival of species like grizzly bears, native trout and salmon, wolverines and other wildlife that need to travel long distances in search of food, habitat and mates.
Y2Y Goals and Gains
Goal: Y2Y’s goal is to restore and reconnect these islands of habitat so animals can once again roam between Canada, western Montana and the Salmon-Selway-Bitterrot wilderness. We are also working to restore watersheds for salmon and native trout.
Gains: Y2Y has succeeded in catalyzing a dynamic and effective collaboration of 60-plus conservation organizations, land trusts, government agencies and Native Americans/First Nations, who have agreed on priority actions for restoring the connections among grizzly bear populations in the CPMC. Together, this Cabinet-Purcell Collaborative is responsible for restoring vital habitat and purchasing undeveloped/private land frequently used by wildlife to move between critical lands. Evidence also suggests that northern grizzly populations are making their way south, meaning that these collective conservation efforts are making a difference to our ultimate goal. (See more progress)
What We Are Working On Now
Yahk to Yaak: Y2Y is leading an effort to restore the degraded forest and stream habitat to help grizzly bears and fish populations regenerate.
Co-existence programs: Through a partnership with Defenders of Wildlife, Y2Y supports programs that help people live with wildlife by installing tools such as electric fencing, livestock management and more.
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