The era of large-scale conservation in America didn’t end with the establishment of Grand Teton National Park in 1950. Rather, the spirit lives on in American Prairie Reserve, a new park for the ages which sprawls across the Great Plains of northeastern Montana. When complete, visitors to the 3.5 million acre wildlife reserve will be able to experience the prairie as the historic explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark found it when they passed through in 1805.
“Our goal is to assemble the largest wildlife reserve in the continental United States,” says Sean Gerrity, president of American Prairie Reserve. “It’s not too late to save this great grassland. It’s going to take the most audacious conservation project of our time in order to do so, but it is achievable.”
The $500 million Reserve will be 1.5 times bigger than Yellowstone National Park, or roughly the size of the state of Connecticut. Already, American Prairie Reserve provides access to all types of users — including campers, hunters, hikers, bikers, photographers and wildlife safari adventurers — and is host to 600 bison as well as elk, pronghorn, deer, prairie dogs, cougars, coyotes, bobcats, foxes, badgers, beavers, bats, snakes, frogs, fish, sage grouse, sharptail, songbirds, owls, eagles and raptors. Visitors enjoy wildlife spotting as well as the vast vistas (one particular favorite features a hundred-mile view without a man-made object in sight) and “landsnorkeling” with the Reserve’s nature guides.
The Reserve has recently been featured in the New York Times, Fast Company Magazine and a short highlight in National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel (American Glamping – Lodge in nature without sacrificing comfort.)
“When people spend time out here on the prairie, it changes them,” adds Hilary Parker, American Prairie Reserve spokesperson. “They think bigger. They worry less. They reconnect with what it means to be one with nature, to mark time by their stomachs and the sun rather than their cell phones. And they come to care a great deal about preserving this grand landscape for generations to enjoy.”
There are two ways to stay on American Prairie Reserve, including the $10 per night Buffalo Camp and the high-end luxury yurt system Kestrel Camp. Visitors are encouraged to stop into the new Enrico Education & Science Center to learn more about the project and share tales of their adventures on the prairie.
Speaking of adventures, one significant caveat: Due to the ruggedness of the terrain and remoteness of the Reserve, all visitors are cautioned to visit the American Prairie Reserve’s Essential Information section of the website before starting out, keeping in mind that the closest medical facilities, emergency responders and services like food and fuel may be well more than an hour away.
Learn more about different opportunities to write about the project by visiting www.americanprairie.org or contacting Hilary Parker at 406-551-3123 or firstname.lastname@example.org.