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Yellowstone to Yukon Hike

WHY WALK 3,400 KM?

Simply put, the Yellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y) Hike promotes a bold and visionary initiative forwarded by scientists, economists and more than 200 conservation groups in Canada and the US. The initiative, called Yellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y) is working on a plan to reweave the patchwork of isolated parks and reserves along the Rockies with connecting wildlife corridors (see Yellowstone to Yukon Initiative backgrounder).


The Hike has and will continue to cross some of the wildest parts of the Rockies as it symbolically traces the path of a grizzly bear, elk, wolf or wolverine moving from one park to another.

The intent of traveling the route of a wolf or bear is to experience the obstacles they might encounter in moving from park to park -- and to bring those experiences alive for audiences and the media. To Heuer's surprise, he has encountered fewer obstacles than he expected in his first 2,000 km (see The First 2,000 km backgrounder).


The goal of the Hike is to capture the attention of the public and media and focus it on Y2Y. Powerful images, stories of trail adventure, and anecdotes from the diaries of grizzly bear, wolf and eagle researchers bring alive the concepts of wildlife corridors and a reserve network.

In the first 2,000 km of the 3,400 km-long trip, this strategy worked well. Heuer walked into more than 40 communities in Wyoming, Montana, Alberta and BC to deliver 60 presentations to ranchers, local governments, industry groups, students and the public. More than 110 stories about the Hike and Y2Y have been published in newspapers, magazines and broadcast over radio and television stations across the continent (including CBC national radio and TV, the Globe and Mail, Equinox Magazine, National Geographic Radio Expeditions and Sports Afield).

"Karsten Heuer is an adventure with purpose. He's making a ground survey of all the Y2Y range--counting highways, railways, and deforested areas as important, he's out to capture people's imagination. He visits schools and town meetings, and talks with rancher and local groups--like some old time circuit rider preaching the gospel of Y2Y." - Alex Chadwick, National Geographic Radio Expeditions, Washington D.C.

Outreach along the trail in 1999 will include more than 35 presentations in at least 25 communities in northern Alberta, BC and the Yukon.


wildland walkin' bootsThe 3,400 km hike is being completed in five legs over the course of two six-month periods. It follows, where possible, the most likely large-mammal migration routes as mapped by leading conservation biologists and based on years of wildlife studies.

The first leg, completed last summer, covered 2,000 km by foot from Yellowstone, Wyoming to Jasper, Alberta. Some of the important wild areas traveled through were Scapegoat Wilderness, Bob Marshall Wilderness, Glacier National Park, Waterton, Height of the Rockies Wilderness Area, Banff and Jasper National Parks The second leg will begin March 15, 1999 from Jasper, Alberta and travel 450 km by ski to Monkman Provincial Park in northeastern British Columbia.

The third leg will hike another 700 km from Monkman Park along the Continental Divide to the headwaters of the Gataga River in northern BC.

The fourth leg will cover 300 km by canoe down the Class II and Class III rapids of the Gataga and Kechika Rivers for 10 days in late August 1999. The final leg will walk the last 200km to Watson Lake in the southern Yukon in September, 1999.

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 Yellowstone to Yukon