Wild Tracks

Yellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y)


We are proud to bring you a new blog feature for Eco Tuesday. Each week, we’ll be highlighting one of the non-profit conservation groups working for the wildlife of the world. We’ll be including a link to their website, so you can learn more, and give them a helping hand!

The Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y) is a joint Canada/USA not-for-profit organization that seeks to preserve and maintain the wildlife, native plants, wilderness and natural processes of the mountainous region from Yellowstone National Park in Montana to the Yukon Territory in Canada.

Y2Y takes a scientific approach to conservation and is recognized as one of the planet’s leading mountain conservation initiatives. Y2Y was officially established in 1997 and has two offices located in Canmore, Alberta and Bozeman, Montana.

One of Y2Y’s primary goals is to ensure that the Yellowstone to Yukon region retains enough connected, well-managed and good-quality wildlife habitat so that animals can safely travel between protected areas (such as national parks) as they roam in search of food and mates.

In the early 1990’s it became apparent to scientists and conservationists that existing protected areas within the Yellowstone to Yukon region were either too small for wide-ranging species, or in the wrong location. More importantly, protected areas were becoming islands surrounded by seas of disturbed and degraded lands.

‘Islandization’ can have a disastrous affect on wildlife. Islands become severed from other prime habitats, and without ‘bridges’ (wildlife corridors) to connect these habitats, the isolated plants and wildlife within an island may become extinct. Wildlife need to draw from a broad gene pool to avoid the genetic anomalies that can accompany breeding with relatives.

Island populations also are vulnerable to disease, overhunting or catastrophic events like floods or fires. This is particularly true as climate change alters the location and configuration of habitats on the landscape. Wildlife will need to migrate northward and to higher elevations in order to keep pace with the habitats that support them. Y2Y works to ensure that the wildlife and wild places of the Yellowstone to Yukon region remain healthy and connected for generations to come.

For more information on this wide-ranging conservation initiative, see the Yellowstone to Yukon website.