Unique and remote. These two words are often used to describe many areas of the United States, particularly the vast Western states. But the Yaak Valley, located in extreme northwestern Montana, really does epitomize that description.
Consider the vegetation: In this modified Pacific Maritime environment grow some of the most productive and diverse forests in the Lower 48. For Montana, this is particularly true, with vast stands of larch, cedar, hemlock, spruce, Douglas, grand and alpine fir, and ponderosa, lodgepole and white pine.
Because of its remote location far from city centers and shopping malls, the Yaak has seldom been visited by sportsmen from outside the area. Yet, when one considers that the area harbors a wide variety of wildlife and fish, the Yaak goes to the top of the list for a sportsman looking for a chance to catch a rare trout or complete a "grouse slam" of three different species of forest grouse.
In Yaak country waters you can find bull trout, redband cutthroat trout, westslope cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, brook trout, kokanee salmon, brown trout and whitefish. In the surrounding forests live spruce, blue and ruffed grouse. The Yaak is also home to trophy whitetail bucks, moose, elk, black and grizzly bears, lynx, wolves and many other seldom-seen species such as wolverine and fisher.
Today the Yaak, Montana's most productive forest, produces very little timber. Once the site of intensive logging operations, the forest was left with eroded trails, roads blocked by deadfall and culverts that hinder fish migration. Through Montana Senator Jon Tester's Forest Jobs and Recreation Act, logging may return to the Yaak – stewardship logging that will help repair damaged landscapes, remove or repair culverts blocking fish movement and enhance trails. Senator Tester's bill would also enhance recreation in special recreation areas, and protect some of the most pristine wilderness in the Yaak on Roderick Mountain on a permanent basis.
Sportsmen can step up for this truly remote and unique part of Montana by exploring in person the amazing hunting and fishing opportunities the Yaak offers. Then, contact your senators and congressmen and tell them to help support Sen. Tester's landmark legislation – legislation that brings local people together for jobs, for recreation, for light-on-the-land logging, for wildlife, for fisheries and ultimately, for generations to come.
You can also help TU in its efforts to conserve the Yaak. Join Trout Unlimited and our 140,000 members nationwide who are work to keep the best wild places on our nation's public lands the best places to hunt and fish in the future.