Yellowstone to Yukon

CPAWS Southern Alberta works within the Yellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y) region. This landscape scale vision is a network of core protected areas combined with an interconnected series of wildlife corridors running 3,200 km up the Rocky Mountains from Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming to northern Yukon. CPAWS’ long-term conservation vision for this region is to ensure a wide corridor of connected conservation areas in the Canadian portion of the Y2Y corridor.

Our work in this region highlights one of the major national conservation themes for CPAWS – landscape connectivity. We focus on three key areas of the region: the Peel Watershed in the Yukon, the Flathead Valley in BC, and the Castle Special Place in Alberta.

CPAWS Southern Alberta’s work largely focuses on the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem within the Y2Y corridor. The Crown of the Continent Ecosystem (the Crown) is a remarkable and wild landscape located in southern British Columbia, Alberta, and northern Montana. This region is globally significant for wildlife habitat and clean, abundant water. The area is also characterized by rural communities and First Nations who share a deep respect for the landscape and its natural processes.

Recognizing the global significance of this ecosystem, the Crown of the Continent Conservation Initiative (CCCI) was created by dozens of organizations active throughout the region, including CPAWS, to articulate and advance a long-term conservation vision. The vision is to sustain far into the future the Crown’s rich biodiversity of plant and animal life, interconnected wildlands, cold, clean waters, diverse and critical habitats, and landscape connectivity, while supporting sustainable and vibrant regional communities.

The threat

In a landscape so diverse and which faces so many urgent challenges, cooperation is the key to securing a healthy and sustainable environment for people and wildlife. Some examples of threats include the effects of climate changes on watersheds, flora and biodiversity, as well as human disturbances and habitat fragmentation.

What CPAWS is doing

Our efforts to protect these sites within the Y2Y corridor is starting to pay off. The Flathead campaign is now an international campaign with UNESCO interest and explicit conservation desires articulated by the state of Montana. The campaign to protect the Yukon’s Peel Watershed has significant public support within the Yukon, and the final Peel land use planning commission report is recommending protection of 80% of the watershed. The Castle wilderness has broad-based local support for protection, and we are working diligently to move forward a recommendation to protect the entire area as a combined Wildland and Provincial Park. Together, we are working to increase the extent of protected areas in this internationally significant landscape.

In 1993, CPAWS worked with other groups to create the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative – an international network of groups and individuals working together to maintain and restore the unique natural heritage of the Y2Y region and the quality of life it affords to residents and visitors.

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