The Western Wildway Network

 

In western North America, our partner Wildlands Network envisions the world’s most extensive network of protected, connected lands: the 6,000-mile Western Wildway (right). Achieving this grand vision will require coordinated conservation, as we work together with partner groups from the U.S., Mexico, and Canada to establish a contiguous network of private and public conservation lands along the spine of the Rocky Mountains and associated ranges, basins, plateaus, and deserts—from Mexico’s Sierra Madre Occidental to Alaska’s Brooks Range.

Protecting and connecting key core areas and pivotal wildlife corridors is crucial to rewilding the Western Wildway, where wildlife habitats have been destroyed and fragmented by centuries of human development and resource exploitation. Wild Utah Project is currently working on three priority areas along the Western Wildway...

Western Wildlway - Click to enlarge map and see the different Wildland Networks along the Wildway!

Western Wildlway - Click to enlarge map and see the different Wildland Networks along the Wildway!


ESRI Aerial Imagery illustrating the Bear River Range corridor as part of the link between greater Yellowstone to the Uinta Mountains

bear river range corridor

The Bear River Range is the only high elevation, forested wildlife corridor that connects the northern and southern Rockies via the high Uintas and middle Rockies of Utah. Currently, many threats and land uses ranging from prolific Off-Road-Vehicle use, to overgrazing and even suburban encroachment limit the permeability of this critical movement corridor for wildlife like wolves, lynx, wolverine and black bear. Wild Utah Project has been working for many years with partners such as the Yellowstone to Uintas Connection and Western Wildlife Conservancy to try to alleviate some of these threats to wildlife movement.  Visit the Yellowstone to Uintas Connection website to learn more about these efforts!

 

ESRI Aerial Imagery illustrating identified core areas for conservation in the Central Colorado Plateau

Colorado Plateau COnservation network

Wild Utah Project is working with Wildlands Network and other partners of the Western Wildway Network to address a 'hole' in the Western Wildway, which up to that point had not had a Wildlands Network created for it.  This area included a a large swath of the Colorado Plateau in southern Utah.  For this new conservation network, Wild Utah Project has worked to identify proposed cores areas, existing roadless areas, and engages in efforts to increase habitat connectivity for those areas not already connected to one another through 'restoration riparian corridors'.  Learn more about the process of designing this network, the outcome and how we plan to implement it!

 

ESRI Aerial Imagery illustrating core and linkage areas for conservation in the Heart of the West -wildlands network design-

the heart of the west wildlands network

In 1999 Wild Utah Project began working with many conservation partners, including Wildlands Network, on this large piece of the puzzle of the Western Wildway.  The Heart of the West region is comprised of the Wyoming Basins Ecoregion (the "lowland" portion of the Heart of the West, shown here), and the Utah-Wyoming Mountain Ecoregion as well.  Covering millions of acres through most of western Wyoming and portions of northeast Utah and northwest Colorado, our computer model locked in roadless areas and was designed to represent under-protected ecosystems and meet the needs of focal species like sage-grouse wolves and cutthroat trout.  The final design featured a large system of core areas connected with landscape linkages, which we and our partners are trying to implement on the ground now. Lean more.....