Brown bear fishing for salmon in Alaska
Colorado Scenic vista at Fishers Peak © Lauryn Wachs/TNC

Newsletter

Nature Briefs

This page was updated on January 21, 2021.

ALASKA

After more than 100 years, a 158-acre tract of remote, coastal Alaska rainforest has been returned to Alaska’s Indigenous Peoples. Point Martin, located on the Gulf of Alaska, contains critical habitat for millions of shorebirds and supports high populations of brown bears, wolves and moose.
 

To mitigate threats from industry, the property has been held by The Nature Conservancy since 1999. However, the tract has important cultural and spiritual significance to Alaska Native tribes who trace their history to the region. In acknowledgment of the ancient connection between this land and Alaska’s Indigenous People, TNC has returned Point Martin to once again be managed and stewarded by Alaska Native tribes.

Alaska Native tribes will steward the property at Point Martin as an important habitat link for resident and migratory birds and mammals.
Point Martin Alaska Native tribes will steward the property at Point Martin as an important habitat link for resident and migratory birds and mammals. © Dustin Solberg/TNC

 MONTANA

Working with Blackfeet community leaders and a willing landowner, The Nature Conservancy recently acquired 7,400 acres within the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana. Located about 70 miles from the Canadian border, the Moisskittsiipa”piyiistukii (Heart Butte) project encompasses broad grasslands and lush wetlands—critical ecosystems that sustain wildlife and people.
 
The land will be returned to the Blackfeet Nation to steward and protect as part of their traditional lands. The Blackfeet Nation wants to pursue their own designation and management of the parcel as a formal conservation area. “In practice, there are still lots of questions,” says Dylan DesRosier, a Blackfeet community member who works as TNC’s land protection specialist in Montana. “The project is a work in progress. The outcomes could change. But it’s a great start to showcase building  respectful partnerships when TNC is owning up to the privileges and power that it holds.”
The Blackfeet Nation will guide the future use and stewardship of the Heart Butte property in partnership with TNC as the short-term owner.
Montana The Blackfeet Nation will guide the future use and stewardship of the Heart Butte property in partnership with TNC as the short-term owner. © Dylan DesRosier/TNC