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Grizzly Bear Habitat = Vital Ground

Occasionally we cover Top Picks beyond Vegas, especially when we see a great cause. A perfect example is Vital Ground. They protect grizzly bears and grizzly bear habitat.

I recently attended their 25th Anniversary Celebration in Missoula, Montana.

In the words of Vital Ground:

America’s magnificent grizzly bear is a national treasure. As Vital Ground co-founder Lynne Seus has observed, “Where the grizzly can walk, the earth is healthy and whole.” But habitat loss threatens bears and all wildlife that co-resides with them. Protecting grizzly bear habitat requires effective habitat science. The Vital Ground Foundation conserves crucial inter-habitat linkage areas. These safe wildlife corridors are what bears depend on as they move to find each other and reproduce. Vital Ground works, for example, to link fragile populations in the Cabinet, Purcell and Selkirk mountains. Critical habitat conservation helps assure grizzly bear survival. Without it, U.S. grizzly bears face extinction in the lower 48 states. Conserving vital habitat protects nature’s irreplaceable grizzly bears. Vital Ground is all about habitat conservation and grizzly bear survival.

And here’s a video further explaining their work.

Their 25th Anniversary Celebration was a festive, informative affair. Slideshows were shown, awards were given, food and wine were consumed. They even booked an upbeat band, The Uplanders.

Crowd shot of Vital Ground's 25th anniversary celebration at Heritage Hall, Fort Missoula

Stuart Strahl, Vital Ground Chairman of the Board, Gary Wolfe, past Executive Director, Ryan Lutey, Executive Director of Vital Ground

Bart the Bear's bronze cast of foot, Gary Wolfe past executive director Vital Ground, Whitey a big supporter of VG

I had the honor of meeting several key members to the organization, including Gary Wolfe and Shannon Drye. Gary Wolfe, past Executive Director, is pictured below on the far right.

Brendan Magone, Vital Ground Member, Gary Wolfe

It should also be noted that their membership contains some of Hollywood’s elite, including Brad Pitt, Sir Anthony Hopkins, and Jennifer Anniston. I may meet a few of them next Friday at their Park City, Utah event (October 2nd).

Vital Ground’s founder, Doug Seus, raised and trained several famous grizzly bears for Hollywood movies, including “Bart The Bear”, seen in Legends of the Fall, The Edge, and other films. (The bears that Doug Seus trained from infancy were motherless due to an accident, and would have died without his care.) Doug Seus has also worked with wolves and a variety of big cats.

Here’s a video of Doug Seus working with one of his bears. It has nearly 8 million views on YouTube.

And as mentioned, here’s the band “Uplanders” from the recent event.

The Uplanders, Vital Ground 25th Anniversary, Missoula MT

Here’s a toast to Vital Ground. Where the grizzly can walk, the earth is healthy and whole.

Vital Ground Member, Brendan Magone, Larkin Kavanaugh, Vital Ground 25th Anniversary Missoula MT

To learn more about Vital Ground, please visit

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