Why We Exist
Why did the wolf cross the road? Or for that matter, not just the road, but the lands and waters of two Canadian provinces, three US states, numerous First Nations territories and countless private lands?
Not everyone can tell their own story. But mapping the travels of a 5-year-old female grey wolf named Pluie helped to change our perspective on, and the face of, conservation.
On a rainy June day in 1991, researchers in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, fitted Pluie with a radio-collar that went on to track her astonishing 100,000-square kilometre journey – more than 15 times the area of Banff National Park – over the next two years. Seeking out food and mates and trying to avoid the threats of civilization took her through Banff to British Columbia, and as far south as Montana, Idaho and Washington in the US.
It was journeys like Pluie’s, and the growing scientific understanding that conservation needed to happen at a broader, transboundary scale – the scale at which animals use the landscape – that inspired conservationist and Y2Y founder Harvey Locke to first write the words “Yellowstone to Yukon” on a map in 1993.
Scientists were finding that a whole range of species, from wolves to grizzly bears to fish and birds, were becoming isolated in protected ‘pockets’ and struggling to migrate from one area to the next. This affected their ability to support themselves, to reproduce and to adapt to a changing landscape and climate. And that in turn was impacting not just their survival, but the balance of the whole ecosystem that they interacted with.
The realization heralded the start of the collaborative Y2Y vision of an interconnected network of wild lands and waters in one of the world’s last remaining intact mountain ecosystems. That vision includes protecting not only the space needed for wildlife to roam, but clean air, clean water, and the integrity of the places we love to recreate in. For more than 20 years, Y2Y and its partners have been working hard and creatively to turn the vision into a reality.
And for more than 20 years, Y2Y has been bringing together the people, ideas and resources to make the connections that will ensure that animals like Pluie, as well as our own children and grandchildren, will be able to live and thrive with one another in harmony.