Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem 2019 Miniseries

Episodes 015 - 019 Wilderness Podcast

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Wilderness Without Compromise in the Gallatin Range | Joe Scalia | Gallatin Yellowstone Wilderness Alliance | GYE 2019 | Ep. 019

Release Date: October 3rd, 2019

Joe Scalia III of Livingston, MT with the Gallatin Yellowstone Wilderness Alliance

For the final episode of my 2019 Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem miniseries, I interview Joe Scalia with the Gallatin Yellowstone Wilderness Alliance. Joe and his new organization have formed to provide an alternative voice for the Gallatin Range and surrounding wildlands in Montana. 

They are advocating for the full 250,000 acres of roadless area in the Gallatin Mountain Range to be designated as federally protected wilderness (most closely aligned with alternative D in the recently revised Forest Service Management Plan) and are opposed to the Gallatin Forest Partnership and their compromise-based approach where they are working in conjunction with timber, mountain biking and snowmobiling interests. The Gallatin Forest Partnership is advocating for about 100,000 acres as recommended wilderness. In case you missed the last episode with Scott Brennan from The Wilderness Society (a member of the Gallatin Forest Partnership), I encourage you to have a listen to get a more complete picture. 

Joe and I talk about mental health, his experience as a psychoanalyst, his love for wilderness, neo-capitalism and its grip on the modern wilderness and environmental movement, The Big Greens, wilderness protection philosophy for the modern age, the importance of the Gallatin Mountain Range and his organization, the Gallatin Yellowstone Wilderness Alliance where they are laying out a new bold vision for wilderness in the northern Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. To learn more about his organization, please visit I had an interesting conversation with Joe deep in the Abosoroka-Beartooth Wilderness. I hope you enjoy the episode!

A snippet from Joe...

My thesis is that if we want to be environmentalists today, we must be loyal to the whole world equally, terra and demos alike. We cannot afford to be blindly sycophantic to a simplistic or “practical” way of approaching the profound questions of who we are and where we live. We must together start thinking big about how we might build a world that has as its explicit aim to protect the integrity of all people and all earth. Because it seems “impractical” and because we don’t yet know how or if we can do it hardly amounts to a reason not to make the effort, since it is obviously the only one worth undertaking for the entirety of the earth and its peoples, flora, fauna, land, water, and aesthetics in its inherent value.

The Future of the Gallatin Range | Scott Brennan | The Wilderness Society - Bozeman, MT | GYE 2019 | Ep. 018

Release Date: September 22nd, 2019

Scott Brennan, Montana State Director - The Wilderness Society - Bozeman, MT

In this episode, I interview Scott Brennan, director of the the Montana office of The Wilderness Society. 

We discuss The Wilderness Society's compromise-based approach to new wilderness protection and the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act. We also zero in on the Gallatin Forest Partnership, a collaborative conservation plan for the Gallatin Range that stretches north from the flanks of Yellowstone National Park to the Bridger Mountains outside of Bozeman; this partnership is building coalitions among special interest groups including ranchers and mountain bikers. This is the first of two interviews about the future of the Gallatin Range, as many people and organizations seek to protect this ecosystem and have diverse opinions and approaches on what land protection should look like. Please stay tuned for my next episode for an alternative take, where I interview Joe Scalia with the newly formed Yellowstone Gallatin Conservation Alliance. This group is advocating for a no-compromise stance on wilderness protection in the Gallatin Range. I hope you enjoy this episode. I had a great time meeting with Scott and learning about The Wilderness Society's approach to conservation. Thanks for listening. 

Gallatin Forest Partnership -

Blackfoot Clearwater -

To learn more about the Wilderness Society, please visit

About Scott Brennan - From The Wilderness Society's website...


During his 25-year career in conservation, higher education and advocacy, Scott has worked closely with business leaders, scientists and elected officials while advocating for large landscape conservation, wilderness protection, fish and wildlife habitat restoration and sustainable economic development. He has led highly successful conservation campaigns in Montana, Alaska, Washington state and at the national level.

Scott was the founding director of the campaign to protect Bristol Bay Alaska from the proposed Pebble Mine and served as Executive Conservation Fellow of the National Parks Conservation Association in Washington, DC. He also worked for a time as a consultant to the Pentagon's Environmental Security Office specializing in government to government relations between the Department of Defense and Federally-recognized Tribes. In addition to his experience in North American conservation, Scott spent most of 2013 living in a remote national park between the Zambezi River and the Angolan border where he supported the research and conservation efforts of the Zambian Carnivore Programme and African Parks Network.

Scott holds two degrees in environmental science and has taught many university-level courses in environmental science, policy and journalism. He is an author of a widely-adopted environmental science textbook (Environment: The Science Behind the Stories, Pearson Education), an award-winning journalist and educator who once taught ecology inside the Maximum Security Unit of the Washington State Penitentiary. Scott is an avid mountain biker, skier and backpacker, a novice backcountry horseman and a lifelong public lands hunter and angler. He lives in Bozeman, Montana.

Friends of Bridger-Teton | Sarah Walker | GYE 2019 | Ep. 017

Release Date: September 13th, 2019

Sarah Smith and her husband Seth

In this episode, I interview Sarah Walker with Friends of Bridger Teton. We discuss the increase in visitation numbers to Greater Yellowstone and surrounding National Forest Land including wilderness areas and what that means for land managers and conservation groups trying to protect wildlife and minimize human impacts. We discuss leave no trace ethics, the differences between primitive and dispersed camping, what you can do when visiting our public lands to be a better steward, the Continental Divide Trail, off highway vehicle use and more. Please visit to learn more about her organization and how you can support them and get involved.

Jackson Hole Trout | Beverly Smith | Trout Unlimited | GYE 2019 | Ep. 016

Release Date: August 31st, 2019

Beverly Smith and Adam Bronstein in Wilson, Wyoming

In this episode, I have a conversation with Beverly Smith, Vice President of Volunteer Operations with Trout Unlimited (TU). We discuss the importance of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and its native trout species, how to best care for fish when catching them, working with volunteers around the country, the effects of climate change on trout and salmon populations, Cutthroat conservation on Yellowstone Lake, the work that TU does across the country and the conservation efforts done locally on behalf of Jackson area fish populations. For more information, please visit

GYE 2019 Miniseries Introduction | Ep. 015

Release Date: August 18th, 2019

This is a short introductory episode for my 2019 Greater Yellowstone miniseries. This is my eighteen consecutive year visiting the region and I thought it would be fun to interview some folks along the way. My journey starts in Jackson, Wyoming and then on to the Pinedale area, then Dubois and finally to Paradise Valley area of Montana where I'll meet up with people in Bozeman and Livingston.


The Greater Yellowstone region is the largest, most significantly intact ecosystem in the lower 48 with Yellowstone National Park at its core. A vast complex of wilderness areas and national forest land form a supporting landscape that is over five times larger than the 2.2 million acres that make up the park. Interestingly, over 90% of the land within the park was recommended for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System going back as early as 1972, but Congress has not yet acted. Nonetheless, the lands are managed as wilderness by the National Park Service. The Yellowstone backcountry is an important resource that sees a fraction of the use compared to the many roadside attractions in the Park where over 1,000 miles of trails, geothermal features, world-class biodiversity and rare wildlife can be found.


The Ecosystem includes renowned places like the Wind River Range, the Wyoming Range, Grand Teton National Park, the Gallatin Range and Absorokas among others. These lands are often overlooked by the public but are vital to the seasonal needs of elk and deer who migrate to lower elevation for food and water over the winter months. They also serve as reservoirs of biodiversity and are home to rare and important species such wolves, wolverine, lynx, grizzly bear and Bighorn Sheep. Without them, Yellowstone would not be the ecosystem that we know today. Resource extraction and increased human visitation are some of the many threats to these supporting landscapes. Conservation groups and concerned citizens are working to ensure their resilience and protection going into the future.


I hope you will enjoy this series and following along. If you have not yet subscribed to Wilderness Podcast, please do so through iTunes, Google Play or wherever you listen to podcasts. Also, please take a moment to leave a review on iTunes to help elevate this program. Thanks for listening and I hope you will enjoy this miniseries on Greater Yellowstone.

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