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Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y)


Y2Y in the Upper Columbia

One of the priority areas in the Y2Y geography is the Upper Columbia region. 

The rare inland temperate rainforest in southeastern British Columbia is special — one of the world’s only. In their work here, Y2Y’s goal is to connect and protect the Upper Columbia for wildlife and people.  

The headwaters of the transboundary Columbia River are also here, linking the Canadian National Parks in the Rocky Mountains to important conservation areas in the U.S.  

Why the Upper Columbia matters

With healthy wildlife populations, from grizzly bears to wolves, mountain goats to wolverines, the

habitat here is diverse and productive. It is also home to one of the larger sub-populations of threatened mountain caribou, one that shows promise of recovery. 

Research indicates that the Upper Columbia will be important in the future for climate change resiliency and as a refuge for species of all kinds who will need cooler places to breed.  

Climate modeling shows there may be less dramatic changes in temperature and precipitation here in years to come, meaning strong snowpacks and water are possible well into the future. This is critical for snow-dependent species such as caribou that migrate seasonally up and down these mountains, as well as for wolverines who depend on a deep snowpack for raising kits, but also salmon and other aquatic species. 

These incredible natural assets are also what has attracted industry and various adventure tourism and recreation interests to the region.  

Threats such as impacts from logging and forestry roads, stand to cause significant loss of old growth interior cedar hemlock forests. Better management of motorized recreation, including snowmobiles, cat- and heli-skiing as well as people-powered recreation like ski-touring could help minimize impacts on an important ecosystem and improve the future for species such as wolverine and caribou. 

How we are accomplishing this?

Y2Y’s vision for the Upper Columbia region, including the north Columbia, north/central Selkirks and north Purcell mountains, is fully-functioning ecosystems, protected by a network of connected conservation areas through legal designations recognized by the governments of B.C., Canada, and Indigenous Nations. 

Another goal is for Indigenous Nations and rural communities in the region to flourish with a

conservation-oriented economy, where wealth generated from the local resources and natural assets meets people’s needs and interests, while supporting sustained health of the ecosystem and important wildlife species. 

By working collaboratively with a variety of people, organizations, governments, industry,

and Indigenous Nations, Y2Y strives for a future together with a landscape where both people and nature thrive. 

Bringing people together to learn, discuss, and work towards a shared vision for a sustainable economy and environment are important parts of creating a thriving Upper Columbia and Y2Y region. 

You can help progress this mission. Sign up for Y2Y’s newsletters at

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