• Making camp at top of Grizzly Basin in a proposed addition to the Bob Marshall Wilderness

The Yaak

(MWA photo)

A Teeming Ecosystem and a Nexus for Wildlife

Located in the far northwest corner of Montana, the Yaak Valley is one of the most productive and biologically diverse landscapes in the state. Unique in that it’s influenced by Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountain climates, the Yaak provides more than 180,000 acres of wild, secure roadless habitat for grizzly bears and other rare and endangered species. The area is a connectivity center for wildlife, linking to southern British Columbia to the north, the Selkirk Mountains to the west, the Cabinets and Bitterroots to the south, and the Crown of the Continent to the east. Managed by the U.S. Forest Service, 98% of the Yaak is publically owned, yet none if it has been permanently protected as Wilderness.

MWA is working alongside our partners at the Yaak Valley Forest Council (YVFC) to change this.

Progress has been made to protect important areas in the Yaak. For instance, the 3 Rivers Challenge has been included in the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act and protects 93,654 acres of wilderness and recreation in the Yaak. Taking its cue from the 3 Rivers Challenge, Kootenai National Forest has recommended 23,500 acres of Roderick Mountain, located south of the town of Yaak and east of Yaak River, for Wilderness in its forest plan.

MWA is participating in the Kootenai Forest Stakeholder's Coalition. The coalition recently finalized its collaborative recommendations for forest management, which includes timber harvest guidelines, recreation, and wilderness for the Yaak and other areas on the Kootenai. This historic agreement would permanently protect Grizzly Peak, Gold Hill West and Roderick Mountain, as well as other roadless wildlands in the Yaak.

Together we aim to secure the most important wildlands of the Yaak forever. For more information or to be involved, please contact Amy Robinson at arobinson@wildmontana.org.