Our flight took us over two proposed mines in the Cabinet Mountains, the Cabinet Wilderness Area, and around to view the Scotchman Peaks, which are proposed for a wilderness designation. We crossed the Kootenay River to tour the Yaak Mountain watershed, an area where Y2Y and its partners - the Yaak Valley Forest Council, InRoads Consulting, Defenders of Wildlife, Western Transportation Institute and Vital Ground are taking a number of science-based approaches to protect private and public lands for wildlife habitat connectivity.
The area is also the Cabinet-Yaak Grizzly Bear Recovery Zone, where one of only two transboundary grizzly bear populations reside (the other is the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem population in Glacier NP). The Cabinet-Yaak Recovery Zone is an area where Y2Y and our partners have worked to purchase and restore critical private lands, recontour roads to improve grizzly bear forage, study connectivity and hotspots on Highway 2 to reduce wildlife vehicle collisions, and study restoration of timber sale areas on public lands to recommend best management practices for public land restoration. In addition, partners have removed failing culverts to restore habitat connectivity for native fish.