This is the fifth of a six part series. The reader is highly encouraged to go to these websites and study what is discussed in these articles in order to make an informed decision.
My father never thought much of the government, but he was a good citizen. He fought for his country and was proud to have served. When he learned his injury wasn't severe enough for the GI bill to help with carpentry school, well, he just sent the blank application back and taught himself. That was the kind of man he was, never expected anyone to carry the load for him. Integrity, character, honesty, and always trying to be on the right side were more important to him than what the government told him to do. Laws were not needed to tell him to respect the land and its gifts. He just wanted to be left alone to live freely, causing no harm to others.
When some juveniles shot the swans at Swan Lake he was devastated but relieved when they were caught and required to spend the next summer working at a bird refuge, hoping they would learn nature's value and what atrocity they had committed. As much justice as possible was served but the loss of those swans was...well there was never enough justice for them. The National Park Service (NPS) policy supports the senseless and barbaric slaughter of Bison, especially those wandering outside the park. This policy and its execution are as guilty as those juveniles. There is no justification for this type of act.
During the 70's a horrific beetle infestation went through Island Park, all the trees on his property were lost. He was livid no efforts were made to thwart the problem, not because of his loss but because of the forest destruction. One day he said, "Let's go get a tree". Driving deep into the forest on a back road, on forest land, I asked him what we were doing. He replied, "I want to get a Douglas Fir." Reminding him the USFS wouldn't like that..."Oh, come on, they aren't going to miss a little tree". How do you say no to your father committing tree theft? We plucked that lucky little sapling out of the ground, took it home, and planted it. He nurtured and babied that tree, gave it extra water, constantly making sure it was thriving. Knowing trees like different company, he was practicing good silvaculture. And just maybe, it was his gesture to the government that the forest does not belong to the government, it belongs to us, the people, and as such, all of us are responsible for its protection, care, and survival.
It is critical to understand the massive number of organizations who are involved in this connectivity agenda and who align with government agencies to advance it.
In 2010, the Obama administration issued a memorandum, creating the America's Great Outdoors Initiative without any federal legislation, and assigning eight federal agencies to implement it. Two objectives were the creation of "corridors and connectivity", and advancing those "priorities through public private partnerships". A DOI order created 22 large landscape cooperatives across the U.S. with Island Park sitting in the Great Northern Large Landscape Cooperative (GNLCC). These cooperatives were tasked with coordinating all landscape conservation groups, including partnering federal agencies, placing land into conservation, and connecting them into large landscapes. There are 56 landscape initiatives that belong to the GNLCC including Yellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y), High Divide (HD), Crown of the Continent (COC), Heart of the Rockies (HOR), Greater Yellowstone Coalition Committee (GYCC), Western Governors Association (WGA), and multiple land trusts. Here is their Steering Committee.
But there are other large landscape conservation groups as well.
Gary Tabor is the founder of the Center for Large Landscape Conservation (CLLN), co-founded the Y2Y Conservation Initiative, the Roundtable of the COC, and co-designed the Western Governors’ Association Wildlife Corridors Initiative. The Conservation Corridor, an International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) program, facilitates wildlife corridor and ecological connectivity conservation, of which Mr. Tabor is the regional leader Vice Chair. As recent as 2016, Mr. Tabor was participating with the IUCN for Areas of Connectivity Conservation. Here is the CLLN network of partners.