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Pacific Wildway

Large footprint in snow, with gloved human hand and GPS in frame for comparison.
A wolf track in the Teanaway River drainage, Washington, where wolves have recently returned to their historical habitat. Photo: Robert Long

From Baja, Mexico north to Prince William Sound extends one of the longest and wildest chains of mountain ranges in the world. This largely unbroken chain is draped with a rich diversity of plant life and roamed by some of the most charismatic wildlife in North America. In northern British Columbia, the Rocky Mountains and the Coast Ranges adjoin to create a rugged, extensive wilderness unlike anywhere else on the planet.

The lowlands abutting these mountain ranges have historically yielded tremendous forests and legendary salmon watersheds. In recent times, however, the Pacific Coast has been flooded with an exploding population of people, the fertile valleys and coastal fringes south of the Canadian border all but completely converted to human use. More than a century of aggressive logging, conversion of natural habitats for agriculture, relentless road construction, and other development have severely degraded the Pacific Coast. Today, human activities threaten the great natural heritage that remains here.

A Wild Vision for Protecting the Pacific Coast

A large portion of the Pacific Coast is held in public lands, including extensive national parks, national forests, and designated wilderness areas. Conservation biology has shown that strengthening the habitat connections between these protected areas will be key to maintaining the ecological integrity of the region.

Over the past 2 decades, conservation organizations, scientists, and land management agencies have helped lay the foundation for creating a network of interconnected wildlands from Baja California along the U.S. West Coast and north through Canada and Alaska. Little has been done, however, to implement such a network on-the-ground.

Map of North America showing the Eastern, Western, Pacific, and Boreal Wildways envisioned by Wildlands Network.
Map of North America showing the Eastern, Western, Pacific, and Arctic/Boreal Wildways envisioned by Wildlands Network.

Wildlands Network’s vision for North America calls for the creation of 4 such continental Wildways, with the Eastern and Western Wildways being our priorities to date. We have recently renewed our focus on the Pacific Wildway, with plans to grow our efforts in this region in the near future.

As a result of our work in the Western Wildway, we have gained valuable insights on how to catalyze collaborative conservation planning along the Pacific Coast. The time is ripe, the opportunities plenty—and with your support, we can generate the resources necessary to advance this important work.

Contact

For more information about the Pacific Wildway, please contact Jessica Walz Schafer, jessica@wildlandsnetwork.org, 503-467-8007.