The Vital Ground Foundation has teamed up with the Humane Society Wildlife Trust to purchase 315 acres of important wildlife habitat in northwest Montana’s Yaak Valley, centered around Fowler Creek, a tributary of the Yaak River that is a well-traveled pathway for several wildlife species including elk, moose and grizzly bears.
The 315-acre property is located near Vital Ground’s Broadie Habitat Preserve, a 2020 project also completed with support from the Humane Society Wildlife Trust. The Fowler Creek project reflects Vital Ground’s One Landscape Initiative strategy, an effort to connect a single, regional landscape in the Northern Rockies and Inland Northwest. With clean water, lush vegetation and easy travel beneath big mountains, these special areas attract both bears and humans for good reason.
“Real estate markets throughout the Northern Rockies have never been under the kind of pressure they’re experiencing right now,” says Ryan Lutey, Vital Ground’s executive director. “You can bet that every acre of developable private land that is not already permanently protected for agriculture, open space or wildlife habitat is currently subject to some analysis of its highest and best use. That makes it extremely hard to compete against the speculative development pricing we’re seeing, but simultaneously increases the importance of every acre protected. With partners like the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust and projects like Fowler Creek, we continue to do our best to match pace with these challenges.”