The wild Yaak is a rugged and remote landscape in northwestern Montana, deep in the Kootenai National Forest. Carved out of the Southern Purcell Mountains by the Yaak River and its many tributaries, the Yaak Valley is a biologically rich landscape harboring an astonishing variety of wildlife and pockets of old-growth forests. Continental weather patterns collide in the Yaak as colder and drier Rocky Mountain ecosystems meet a steady onslaught of storms and moisture from the Pacific Ocean.
The resulting high-precipitation, number of cloudy days, and deep winter snowpack create a “modified Pacific maritime” climate that supports small pockets of rare inland-temperate rainforest dominated by western red cedar and western hemlock. All that moisture filters through the many streams and pockets of marshy-wetlands found in the wild Yaak, working its way into the Yaak River watershed and creating areas of climate refugia, parts of the landscape uniquely resilient to climate change.