The Northern Lights Community Fund is proud to award its March grants to Greater Yellowstone Coalition and the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation.  Both organizations will receive a $500 grant to help fund the protection of wilderness and help construct new trails in Montana's backcountry.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to show the community that Northern Lights supports our efforts in landscape protection,” says Jeff Welsch, Communications Director for Greater Yellowstone Coalition. “Since 1983, GYC has operated on the premise that the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem will remain healthy and wild only if it is kept whole.

The Greater Yellowstone ecosystem encompasses twenty million acres of wild country that includes Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, parts of six national forests, three national wildlife refuges, and state and private lands in Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana.  It is essential for the future of these national treasures that we protect the lands that surround them. And Montana's Gallatin Range, which features the last unprotected, unroaded lands adjacent to Yellowstone Park, is an important cornerstone of these efforts.”

The Community Fund grant will help create a solution for the 155,000-acre Hyalite-Porcupine-Buffalo Horn Wilderness Study Area, an area of contention among the many recreational users in the region.  “We feel that groups like the Greater Yellowstone Coalition are taking the right steps to offer a long-term solution for the Gallatin Range,” says Matt Parsons, Marketing Manager at Northern Lights.  “We believe the answer is out there.  But it will take a variety of groups from the recreation community coming together to accomplish common goals.”

The Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation will use its grant money to fund trail projects for a variety of user groups within the 1.5 million acre wilderness.  “The Bob,” as it is often referred to, includes the Bob Marshall, Scapegoat and Great Bear Wilderness areas.  The Bob currently has over 1,700 miles of trails, much of which must be maintained by volunteers.  The BMWF works alongside the Forest Service to coordinate crew leadership, work itineraries, food menus, tool and equipment needs and pack support.

“We're trying to take some of the money that goes into buying gear and invest it right back into the land and trails that our customers use,” says Mike Garcia, owner of Northern Lights Trading Company.  “Northern Lights has always supported the goals of wilderness advocacy groups like the BMWF.  It's how we can maintain such a healthy and diverse population of land and aquatic species in Montana.  It's good for our water, it's good for wildlife, it's good for our customers and it's great for the economy of our state to have such areas set aside for recreation.”

Northern Lights Trading Company established their Community Fund with the goal of clearly demonstrating the direct and positive effects of a consumer's local spending on the Bozeman community.  They have committed to donating $1,000 per month to a selection of conservation and human interest organizations that help make Montana a great place to live and recreate.