Community Development & Conservation Education

The Yaak Valley Forest Council develops community growth projects in the Yaak and across Lincoln County through outreach, education, and bold action. We believe in building strong, vibrant, sustainable, and environmentally friendly communities in the Yaak and throughout Lincoln County. We forge lasting partnerships and relationships with Lincoln County’s stakeholders to achieve this.

If you would like to contribute to Community Development in the wild Yaak or have any questions about our work, please contact Ashley South at ashley@yaakvalley.org or 406-295-9736.

A grizzly bear.

Bear Aware and Bear Safe

The Yaak Valley Forest Council has developed a Bear Aware Program to reduce confrontations between bears and humans. Our program offers Yaak community members bear-proof trash cans and electric fences to protect livestock, gardens, feed, and trash. This year we added bear-proof backpacking canisters, bear spray, and bear bells.

Another recent addition to our Bear Aware Program is the promotion of bear-proof coolers by YETI. We have recently partnered with YETI to promote responsible recreation and protection of food from grizzly bears. YETI’s bear-proof coolers provide an opportunity to educate the public about bears and the work of the Yaak Valley Forest Council.

Conservation education

We are using our social media platforms to launch an outreach education program focused on increasing biodiversity awareness, insight into invasive weeds biology and effective non-toxic methods for weeds eradication, wildlands conservation in the face of climate change, and much, much more.

The Yaak Valley Forest Council also sponsors and participates in annual events such as Water Camp and local harvest festivals, as well as other educational programs designed to inform children and adults about ecology and conservation.

Stream Crossing Inventory (SCI) surveying with the USFS.
Mount Henry Guided Hike
A guided hike at the Mount Henry Lookout.

Guided Hikes

During the summer months, we partner with Wild Montana’s Wilderness Walks Program to provide fun and educational hiking opportunities in the Yaak Valley. Our Field Crew Leader carefully chooses hikes that offer great views and examples of the biological diversity found in the wild Yaak. This year, our Field Crew will be leading two hikes. If you would like to participate, please contact us.

Recreational Support

As members of the Troy Recreation Committee, we are working on developing a cycling park next to the Troy Museum with a pump track, camping spots, showers, and bathrooms to be offered for cyclists and primitive recreationists traveling through. This group was formed to increase recreational opportunities in the Troy area and drive local economic growth in the tourism industry.

YVFC - Ross Creek Cedars Student Hike
Young students participate in a hike through the Ross Creek Cedars Scenic Area.
Overlooking Alvord Lake from the outdoor classroom.

Alvord Lake Community Forest

The Yaak Valley Forest Council, in collaboration with other land managers and the Lincoln County community, works to keep the Alvord Lake Forest open to the public for activities like hiking, canoeing, fishing, and wildlife viewing. The Alvord Lake Community Forest is a collaborative success story and an example of finding common ground to preserve and manage our forests for future generations.

Photo Contest

Each year, the Yaak Valley Forest Council hosts the Lincoln County Photo Contest. This is a great way to capture the beauty and uniqueness of the wild and remote Yaak area and builds community connections through wild experiences. Learn more about our photo contest here.

Crowell Creek Falls with Hiker
2014 YVFC Photo Contest Grand Prize Winner - "Crowell Creek Falls" by Chris Balboni