The High Divide priority area rests between two core regions: the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and central Idaho’s Salmon-Selway-Bitterroot priority areas. It is a mix of grassland and upland forests, of public land interspersed with dozens of large working ranches that date back to the homestead era.
Numerous mountains, valleys and rivers can be found here, including the Madison and Jefferson Rivers, Lemhi Range, Tobacco Root Mountains, and Madison and Centennial Valleys. The Centennial Valley floor is one of the region’s largest wetland complexes, and serves as a flyway for numerous birds. The valley is also home to a variety of other wildlife, including antelope, elk, mule deer, sage grouse, wolverine, trumpeter swan and a rare species of pygmy rabbits.
Value to Yellowstone to Yukon Vision
The High Divide is one of the most important linkage areas in the Yellowstone to Yukon region, connecting the three biggest blocks of protected wildlife habitat in the lower 48 States: the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the Salmon-Selway-Bitterroot ecosystem and the Crown of the Continent ecosystem. Ensuring wildlife can move through the High Divide to any of these core regions is essential to the Yellowstone to Yukon vision.
ThreatsIn many respects, the High Divide has been quietly taking care of itself by virtue of its isolation and rural agricultural character, but no place is immune from development. Highways are getting busier, mining has occurred for over a century, and new gas extraction techniques, along with more subdivisions, are putting new pressure on the land and waters. Despite these threats, there is still an opportunity to conserve and restore wildlife habitat and movement routes for species like moose, grizzly bears, wolverine, antelope, elk and trout.
Goal: Y2Y aims to help secure critical pieces of the landscape that will support wildlife movement between the bordering priority areas and serve the larger Yellowstone to Yukon vision.
What We Are Working On Now
Collaboration: Y2Y is connecting with and supporting partners, who are already in the region to scope out existing conservation efforts, identify gaps and determine where Y2Y’s large-landscape perspective can move efforts forward.