Greater Yellowstone

We don't need to tell you that Yellowstone National Park is a special place.  Chances are, you already know that Yellowstone was the world's first national park, and is still one of its finest. You know that no place else on earth has the number of geysers, cauldrons and other geothermal features. And you know that it is one of the finest wildlife reserves on Earth, right up there with places like the Serengeti, and the Galapagos.

It's a huge park of beautiful vistas, awesome rivers and seemingly endless space.

But here's the problem: It's not enough.

Now, we know those are fighting words for many Yellowstone lovers. How could Yellowstone--so big, so beautiful--not be enough? No one is arguing that the park is not an incredible place, truly one of our national treasures.

But Yellowstone's famous wildlife--the critters like elk, moose, pronghorn and grizzly bears--need even more space than the national park. They have to move from the park to get to the places they spend the winter.

To get there, they cross through private land. Traditionally Yellowstone's wildlife has used working ranches, which provided them the space they needed to get to their winter areas, and then back to the park in the spring.

Today, those ranches are being developed. In fact, five of the fastest growing counties in the nation are located surrounding Yellowstone National Park. When houses go in, the deer and elk and moose have no place to go. They have the park, but they need more.

But there is hope. The Nature Conservancy is working with private landowners and other partners in the three states that make up the Greater Yellowstone region--Idaho, Montana and Wyoming--to ensure that private ranches continue to prosper, giving a place for both the traditional ranching culture and Yellowstone's famous wildlife.

The Conservation Easement Story

Conservation easements are voluntary legal agreements donated or sold by a landowner to a conservation organization or land trust. The easement allows the landowner to continue ownership of the land and traditional uses like farming, ranching and timber harvesting, but the land is protected from development in perpetuity.

Conservation easements provide an option for landowners to continue their ranching traditions, and pass them on to future generations.

In the Henry's Lake area of Idaho, to the east of Yellowstone, such easements by the Conservancy and its partners have protected 4500 acres on 14 ranches. The next time you drive through eastern Idaho en route to Yellowstone National Park, look for the pronghorns, moose and sandhill cranes that can often be seen just off Highway 20. Look at the ranches, the rodeos and the farm houses that dot the area. E

The Nature Conservancy is working to ensure that all this remains for future generations to enjoy.

Working Together For Yellowstone's Future

Working together, The Nature Conservancy is creating a conservation legacy in the areas of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming outside Yellowstone National Park. The stakes are high. Can you imagine Yellowstone National Park without elk, without moose, without grizzlies?

Visionary conservationists protected this park, recognizing how special it was and how important it would be for millions of Americans, and people from around the world. The idea to create a national park was, at the time, outrageous and audacious.

If they could create such a lasting legacy, we can create the migration routes and working ranches of Greater Yellowstone. Become a member of The Nature Conservancy today, and join us in protecting Yellowstone country.


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