Vital Ground is taking action to facilitate the recovery of grizzly bear populations in the Cabinet-Purcell mountain region in northwestern Montana and to reverse loss of habitat by purchasing biologically important tracts of private land. In December 2010, Vital Ground executed two purchase options on private lands. Both properties, one near the Yaak River/Kootenai River confluence (Yaak Mountain Property) and another near the Bull River/Clark Fork River confluence (Rice Draw Property) were identified as key linkage zones, or areas where wildlife move between core habitat areas. Throughout 2011, Vital Ground and its partners have been placing great efforts in outreach and fundraising under The Right Place™ Campaign to purchase these two critical properties by year-end. Thanks to generous donations, Vital Ground closed on the Yaak Mountain Property in July. We continue to fundraise for the second property, the Rice Draw Property, and to be successful we must raise $1.15 million before December 15, 2011.
Yaak Mountain Property:
We are pleased to announce that in July, Vital Ground acquired its first property under Phase I of the Cabinet-Purcell Wildlife Linkage Initiative. A 71-acre parcel located at the base of Yaak Mountain near the town of Troy, Montana, the Yaak Mountain Property parallels the Kootenai River and U.S. Highway 2. The property will now be permanently protected and will provide a safe link for grizzlies roaming over Yaak Mountain into other National Forest lands across the highway and river.
Rice Draw Property:
Vital Ground is now aggressively fundraising to purchase the second property under Phase I and has until December 15, 2011 to exercise the purchase option. It is a 187-acre parcel located near the southern boundary of our Cabinet-Purcell working region near the town of Noxon, Montana.
The Noxon area has become a place of increasing grizzly bear mortalities—four during the past nine years—which is a grave concern for wildlife managers as there are already so few bears in the region (biologists believe that fewer than 40 grizzly bears survive in this area south of the Canada border). Because of unprecedented development, grizzlies and many species of wildlife are having difficulty safely crossing this crucial linkage area.
Acquisition of the Rice Draw Property will ensure that it is never developed for homes or businesses. Under our ownership, the property will be managed for the benefit of wildlife and will continue to contribute to the north-south connection between the Cabinet-Yaak Grizzly Bear Recovery Zone and the Bitterroot Ecosystem.
The Rice Draw project budget is $1.15 million and represents one of the organization's greatest fundraising challenges in our twenty-year history.
In an effort to reach our goal of raising $1.15 million by December 15th, we are requesting help from our donors and supporters. Do you have any specific ideas on how we can reach our fundraising goal? If so, please contact Kelly at email@example.com. Thank you for your support!
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