The High Divide region of Idaho and Montana straddles the Continental Divide along the Idaho-Montana state line and is the center of connectivity between the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the Crown of the Continent and the wilderness Central Idaho. Although the region only encompasses two states, it has continental significance because it houses headwaters for the Missouri and Columbia watersheds and it is a stronghold for wildlife that have disappeared from much of their historic range.  

To protect this crucial area, the High Divide Collaborative is bringing stakeholders together to work collectively to conserve and restore lands of importance for local communities and to protect ecological integrity at the landscape scale.

The collaborative is comprised of public land managers, state wildlife agencies, landowners, local community leaders, scientists and conservation groups. The participant list represents a wide variety of interests and expertise in numerous relevant industries.  

The goal of conserving and restoring an area as large and diverse as the High Divide, involves several distinct, but related shared priorities including: 

  • Ecological linkage among core habitat areas to conserve wide-ranging fish and wildlife populations that are resilient to climate change;

  • A cultural legacy of traditional food sources, tribal treaty lands, and travel ways such as the Nez Perce, Continental Divide, and Lewis & Clark Trails;

  • Working ranchlands that are central to communities, economy and way of life;

  • Nationally important dispersed recreation lands and waterways where people enjoy nature;

  • Clear and abundant water for headwaters fisheries, wildlife, healthy riparian communities, and human uses;

  • Intact, resilient sagebrush steppe ecosystems that support sustainable ranching communities and are critical for many wildlife species, including the greater sage grouse;

  • Healthy forest lands managed for sustained economic, social and ecological values; and,

  • Open land in the wildland urban interface to protect life and property, reduce fire costs, and allow wildfire to play its natural role.

To learn more about the High Divide Collaborative, check out the film created and produced by Grizzly Creek Films and Heart of the Rockies Initiative. To get more involved, join the effort directly. 

They say The High Divide is the place where the world is cut in two. Then again, it may be where everything comes together. This place was once called “the big empty.” But it's bursting at the seams - with deep forests, streams brimming with trout, meadows flush with grizzlies and wildflowers, and peaks so wild and vast they stretch all the way to the horizon. It’s also full of people. People who love the land. Cowboys who love salmon. Range riders who shepherd cattle and carnivores. Woodcutters who fight for forests. Generation after generation stewarding land and water. These are the lost voices of a new kind of pioneer. An original film from Heart of the Rockies Initiative & Grizzly Creek Films celebrates the confluence of a wild place, its visionary people, and a mission to preserve and restore the backbone of the American West.