This American Land


These roadless areas in the Yaak are public lands: lands owned by you, by me, by these writers, and by all Americans. Lands that, against overwhelming odds, have managed to retain the grace of their initial creation; fourteen last gardens where all the various and intensely interconnected cycles of life are still free to play out at the original pace with which they were first designed by the Creator.

Nothing has ever gone extinct in the Yaak — not since the time of mastadons and mammoths — though many of the populations are down to a single or double digit tally, like a reverse kind of Noah’s Ark. Five or six wolves; only two known breeding female grizzly bears, rare even among the rare; one occasional woodland caribou.

The Yaak is a vital linchpin, the narrowest bottleneck in a chain of wildness that extends north from the Yellowstone country all the way up toward the Yukon. And not one acre of it is protected. Not one acre.

Play 28.8k Movie | Play 56k Movie

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A word about video & connection speeds:

If you are like most of us, your connection speed is less than desirable. Regardless, you can view either version of the interview – it just may take longer.

The 28.8k version is a lower resolution version with a smaller window. At a 28,800 connection speed, it should begin to play in about 60 seconds. At higher speeds it will play even faster. It will look the same at any speed.

The 56k version is a much higher quality video with a larger viewing window. At a 28,800 connection speed, it will take 5-7 minutes to buffer before it begins to play. At a 56,000 connection speed – or higher – it will play more or less immediately. It too will look the same at any speed.

Rick Bass is a wilderness advocate, activist, and the author of more than thirty books. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lyndhurst Foundation, the Montana Arts Council, and others. His stories, articles, and essays have appeared in The Paris Review, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Narrative, Men’s Journal, Esquire, GQ, Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, Los Angeles Times Magazine, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Tin House, Zoetrope, Orion, and numerous other periodicals and book anthologies. He lives in western Montana.