About Mountain Journal

Meaningful public-interest journalism at the intersection of people and nature in America's wildest, most iconic ecosystem

Eyes of the Grizzly by Thomas Mangelsen

Who We Are

Mountain Journal is headquartered in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the wildest region in the Lower 48 states and a nexus for understanding the inter-relationships between people and nature in the American West. Greater Yellowstone, as a region, is considered a global icon, destination, and bellwether for thinking about the persistence of healthy landscapes in the 21st century. With most of Greater Yellowstone being federal public land, that means it belongs to all citizens of the United States.

As a non-profit 501 (c)(3), our mission of public-interest journalism is simple. Mountain Journal serves as both a journalistic watchdog and celebrant of Greater Yellowstone. It is devoted to advancing civil, scientifically-informed discussions about the role/obligation that private interests play in serving a larger—and greater—public purpose, benefitting humans and non-human species. 

In order for us to succeed, we need your financial support.  We are profoundly grateful to readers who believe that public-interest journalism is important.

Someone asked us recently: "What makes the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem the wildest landscape in the Lower 48?"

This is how we replied and it also helps to answer the question of why Mountain Journal exists.

"Our answer is an easy one," we said.  "Greater Yellowstone still has all of its original megafauna and other species that were here before Europeans arrived on the continent. It has a stable and fairly large grizzly bear population, something that doesn't exist in other landscapes because it's extraordinary difficult to do; certainly not in landscapes that also have wolves and most importantly, three of the longest-known, still-functioning wildlife migrations (elk, mule deer and pronghorn) left on the planet. Greater Yellowstone has imperiled wolverines, Canada lynx, and black-footed ferrets. It has wild genetically-pure bison, descended from a mere handful that survived the purge of 35 million. It has trumpeter swans that also, like bison, escaped a close brush with extinction. It has undammed rivers, the last major wild reservoir for Yellowstone cutthroat trout and healthy coldwater fish populations, it has a roadless area considered the most remote in the Lower 48, it has geysers (the largest concentration globally) while elsewhere in the world most such geothermal phenomena have been destroyed, and, for now, Greater Yellowstone has around 440,000 permanent residents set within 22.5 million acres, equal to about the size of South Carolina. It is the wildest single mosaic of interconnected wild places in the Lower 48 at the moment, and has aspects that make it one of the wildest in the world, still capable of supporting all of the above. The question is: for how long?


Besides providing compelling stories, Mountain Journal is dedicated to public-interest journalism, advancing the principles of civility, promoting honest discussions informed by facts, demanding accountability from those in positions of power and influence, and delivering a thoughtful, truthful analysis to our readers. 

We believe storytelling is vital to enlightenment; it can make visible the invisible and bring illumination to aspects of human culture and landscape that have otherwise remained in the shadows. We believe in confronting serious issues and, at the same time, the need for bringing levity as necessary relief, art for inspiration, and listening as a way of reminding us why we live here or choose to make this unparalleled corner of the West our destination.

Think of Mountain Journal as the celebration of a region to which all Americans belong, a broad sweep of public and private land with many parts that transcend artificial boundaries.  How we think about and engage in issues here has implications for the future.

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The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem as a window on the West

Our Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is expansive. Browse the articles you are most interested in by clicking the geotags on the map.