Discover “where the Rockies come alive”—where the spirit of the Wild West thrives alongside the Great Outdoors in the Crown of the Continent: www.wildestrockies.org.
New book and multimedia outreach project partners: Braided River, Mountaineers Books, Montana Office of Tourism, Wilburforce Foundation, Campion Foundation, Crown of the Continent Geotourism Council, Trust for Public Land, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, Vital Ground, Wildsight, National Parks Conservation Association, Patagonia, Crown of the Continent Conservation Initiative.
“At the onset of this project I wanted to take people into the far reaches of the Crown, up into the mountains, down under the clear waters, deep into its forests. I also wanted to share the views you could see on foot, the views you see with a little sweat and persistence. None of the images in this book were shot from airplanes, and all the wildlife photographed is wild.” —photographer Steven Gnam
One of the wildest and most biologically diverse ecosystems in the world is located where Alberta, British Columbia, and Montana converge, stretching along the Continental Divide of the Rocky Mountains in a region called the “Crown of the Continent.” Its centerpiece is Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, a union of Glacier National Park in the U.S and Canada’s Waterton Lakes National Park. Also referred to by the local Blackfoot Indians as “The Backbone of the World,” the area holds 18 million acres of unparalleled beauty and serves as the headwaters of the continent—where clean water flows to the Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Hudson Bay. It also claims a successful and inspiring history of conservation by people from all walks of life.
Through photographs and essays from locals who live and work in the region, the new book “Crown of the Continent: The Wildest Rockies” (Mountaineers Books/Braided River) explores the surprising connections between culture, history, communities, and the Great Outdoors in one of the world’s most majestic regions. Their combined images and words provide a glimpse of what Lewis and Clark encountered on their expedition in the early 1800s and where, today, the landscape, natural flora and fauna, and the people who rely on the region are undeniably connected.
“Guard, protect, and cherish your land, for there is no afterlife for a place that started out as heaven.” —Charles M. Russell
In these pages photographer Steven Gnam takes us into the very heart and soul of the wildest Rockies. Having explored the area since a young child, he’s travelled by foot, ski, and bike—and at times snorkeling underwater alongside trout—thousands of miles to showcase the wild spirit of a special place he considers home.
Wildlife biologist and critically acclaimed author Douglas Chadwick contributes an essay on the area’s biodiversity and close proximity to vibrant communities. Longtime Missoulian journalist and now Crown of the Continent Program Manager for National Parks Conservation Association Michael Jamison outlines the human history in the Crown and the progress made in preserving both landscape and livelihood. Dylan Boyle, of The Crown of the Continent Geotourism Council, contributes the section “Experiencing the Crown” with tips for visiting ten natural and cultural sites within the region. And Karsten Heuer, executive director of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, provides an epilogue that encourages conservation and lends a personal voice for the Canadian region of the Crown.
Here is a place of wildly unique confluences and connections. Habitats include grassland prairie, boreal forest, inland rainforest, alpine tundra, and upland pine. Climatic zones include Arctic, Southwest, Plains and Pacific Maritime. The landscape ranges from meandering river corridors to 10,000-foot alpine heights that are the origins of headwaters that sustain the North American Continent.
From tiny weasels to grizzly bears, from mountain lions and wolf packs to the densest population of wolverines in the lower 48, the single most diverse collection of carnivores in North America is found in the Crown. Antelope bound through the prairie while elk and deer graze the mountainsides. Golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, mountain bluebirds, and pink flocks of pine grosbeaks wing through the air.
The diversity continues into the meadows and towns of the Crown: here’ll you find Native Americans, ranchers, downtown business owners, loggers, outdoor guides, educators, and people from all walks of life. Whether their family has been here for thousands of years or they’re newcomers, they share the same spectacular backyard. Residents and visitors of the Crown enjoy pristine lakes, glacial rivers, astounding wildlife sightings, and world class outdoor recreation opportunities, as well as a pace of life synchronized to the land.
The book and associated outreach hope to inspire conversations on how to keep this region protected for all future generations to come.
Crown of the Continent * 192 pages * 12 x 10 * hardcover * 150 color photos * $29.95 * ISBN 978-1-59485-772-0
Image courtesy Mountaineers Books/Braided River