The Rocky Mountains are the wild heart of North America. WCS’s vision is to Rewild the Rockies. What does that mean? To us, rewilding is about protecting wild nature, but it’s also about rewilding the human imagination and reconnecting with our own wild.
Rewilding the Rockies means mythic creatures like buffalo, wolverine, and grizzly bear once again are roaming across the wild and working lands that sustain us all, valued and stewarded by diverse communities. We know it will take everyone: urban-rural, youth-elder, rancher-lawyer, chef-politician, artist-executive. If any place on the planet can reconnect humans with their own wild nature, the Rockies is it. And the time is now.
To achieve this, we restore, reconnect and protect species, landscapes, and waterways at scales that are ecologically meaningful and resilient in the face of a changing climate.
We work in three priority landscapes – Crown of the Continent & High Divide, Southern Rockies, and Southwest Borderlands. To achieve this bold vision, we braid science and cultural knowledge, policy, strategic partnerships, and civic engagement and movement building into systemic solutions that address the significant conservation challenges the region faces.
WCS was founded in 1895 in no small part to prevent the extinction of bison in North America. Today, we work in over 60 countries to save wildlife and wild places through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. The Rocky Mountain Program is one of 14 WCS Regions and has a long conservation history in North America. WCS has achieved significant victories for wildlife, changing the conservation map in the process. Among the most notable are the creation of Path of the Pronghorn, the first federally recognized wildlife migration corridor in the United States; the seven-fold expansion of Nahanni National Park in Canada; and supporting Indigenous partners in the restoration of free-ranging bison on their lands.
2019 saw us take on a critical evaluation of the Program’s approach, the larger conservation movement and its effectiveness in North America, evolving Western identities, growing polarization, and the need for a more diverse, inclusive, equitable and just conservation model. We also explored drivers of change in the West and globally, including the ever-expanding human footprint.
Conservation in the 21st Century:
To rewild the Rockies, a new conservation model is needed: one that embodies Indigenous and Western worldviews and knowledge systems that take into account ecology, economics, identity, politics, art, culture; one that embodies the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice; and elevates and engages a wholly new set of voices in the creation of a durable base of conservation power to protect the wild Rockies.
Success mandates no less than an entirely new conservation paradigm, a force of unity rather than division. The Rocky Mountain Program is committed to co-creating and bringing it into being with our partners: Indigenous leaders & Nations, ranchers & rural communities, urban leaders, policy-makers, scientists, storytellers, and creative agents. Ready to protect your wild? Join us!