Vital Ground Foundation

Operating as a land trust, the mission of The Vital Ground Foundation is to protect and restore North America's grizzly bear populations by conserving wildlife habitat. While preserving the areas where grizzlies roam is the focus of Vital Ground, the positive impact of our work goes well beyond saving a single species. Because the grizzly's range covers several hundred square miles−from alpine meadows to valley bottoms−protecting grizzly habitat benefits entire plant and animal communities in the wildest, most scenic places left on the continent.


Founded in 1990, Vital Ground is dedicated to reconnecting isolated fragments of wildlands important for grizzly recovery and biodiversity. As a small (but thriving!) land trust with a unique mission, the Missoula, Montana-based organization is selective and strategic in the way it uses its financial resources and real-estate expertise to identify and protect parcels of private land crucial to grizzly bear survival.

As its name suggests, Vital Ground places special emphasis on protecting specific key landscapes. One is private lands where grizzly bears currently live or into which they could extend their range, especially in spring and fall when habitat requirements expand due to reproductive and pre-hibernation activities. A second is private lands located near public lands or already-protected private lands, and a third is lands connecting grizzly bear ecosystems. Vital Ground's programs include three initiatives to protect crucial habitat in the Swan Valley and Cabinet-Yaak areas of Montana, and Selkirk Mountains of northern Idaho.


Accreditation seal


Contact Vital Ground Foundation

Ryan A. Lutey, J.D.
Executive Director
20 Fort Missoula Rd.
Missoula, Montana  59804-7202
Phone: 406-549-8650
Fax: 406-549-8787


Service Area

Services provided in:
  • Bonner County, Idaho
  • Boundary County, Idaho
  • Lincoln County, Montana

To request additions or corrections to this entry email the Administrator
Related Success Stories for Vital Ground Foundation

Perenosa Bay, Afognak Island
Coastal rainforest and salmon rivers are being conserved for Alaska Department of Natural Resources in an area identified as the top habitat for Exxon Valdez oil spill injured fish and wildlife.