Round River is dedicated to protecting and restoring those increasingly rare places best described simply as big wilderness. To us, big wilderness signifies vast landscapes containing complete assemblages of wildlife including the largest carnivores. Unfortunately, not only is the earth losing its wildest places, but we are also losing in our own imaginations the potential these places once inspired in us.

Round River began in 1991 as a collection of conservation scientists, artists, and so-called radical activists who came together out of a shared love for big wilderness. Over the years, we have learned the importance of collaborating with local people who have maintained strong, enduring land ethics. We also came to understand that we too had to make long-term commitments to the land and people in the places where we work.

From the outset, we recognized the importance of sharing our work with young adults, as well as the value of the landscape as the most visceral of educators. Students are central to our efforts, and participate in our conservation projects gaining first-hand experience with the scientific, social and political aspects of this work.

Following the edict of Michael Soulé; to be effective conservation planning must include large core areas, big carnivores, and connectivity; we set out with our long-term partners and students to produce innovative, comprehensive land protection plans. Today, thanks to the perseverance of our supporters and partners, we are witnessing success through the implementation of these plans. As a small organization we are proud of our effectiveness, assisting with the creation of recognized conservations areas exceeding 100 million acres and approaching 10 million acres of designated protection.

Why Round River is successful is because we know who we are. We are those that simply cannot live without wild nature. It’s because we know for whom we are working.  We are working for those with four legs or two wings and for those people who are not afraid to live with them.  It’s because of how we work as we make long-term commitments to wild places and the indigenous people they support.

  • Everything Round River does is rooted in conservation science — aided by our participating students
  • Round River does not shrink away from confrontational issues, but stays committed over the necessary long term to reach our goals
  • Round River partners with indigenous peoples, communities, governments, and other non-profits.
  • Round River has the support of our students, alumni and donors who enable us to continue working at a large scale on real matters of conservation.

Today our conservation efforts in North America are focused in northwestern British Columbia, northern Yukon Territory, southeastern Utah, and the mountains of central Idaho and western Montana and Wyoming. In Africa, our longstanding work in the Kunene Region of Namibia continues as well as in the Okavango Delta of Botswana. In South America, our efforts are focused in the Patagonia Mountains of Chile.

Additionally, we are being asked to help in other regions around the world, and are seeking new partners to join us in our mission of protecting big wilderness, its wildlife and the people who call these lands their home. If you wish to help or have any questions or comments, please contact us.

The Last Ten Years

Since 1991, Round River has engaged local people and employed conservation science to develop conservation plans that exceed 100 million acres and achieve protective measures for over 10 million acres. Below is a brief outline of our recent activities.

The Yukon North Slope Conservation Initiative was established with the Wildlife Management Advisory Council and the Inuvialuit Game Council. The Idaho Wolverine – Winter Recreation Study was expanded to include sites in Montana and Wyoming.

With the Navajo Nation, the 1.9 million acre Diné Bikéyah Conservation Plan was developed as a national monument proposal for consideration by the Obama Administration.

Conservation projects with the Botswana Okavango Research Institute in Botswana and Conservación Patagónica in Chile were developed and student programs initiated.

After a 14-year partnership with the Taku River Tlingit First Nation, formal negotiations with the BC government resulted in over 7 million acres receiving conservation measures and protection.

Reached the successful conclusion of a 10-year forest reserve and capacity building partnership with Fundación Cordillera Tropical in the biologically rich highlands of southeastern Ecuador.

To curb hunting of grizzly bears in northwestern British Columbia, a hunting business and its 2 million acre guiding territory was purchased. The Wolverine – Winter Recreation Study in partnership with the US Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station was initiated.

Under a directive from the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Round River completed the Kunene Regional Ecological Analysis, to identify the region’s ecological values and to map proposed park boundaries.

Following on an engagement that began in 1993 with the Heiltsuk First Nation, Round River assisted with a youth cultural camp in the Koeye River watershed of British Columbia.

The Great Bear Rainforest campaign utilizing a Round River Conservation Area Design achieved 5 million acres of new protected areas on the coast of British Columbia.

The Government of the Northwest Territories’ Department of Environment and Natural Resources sought Round River’s technical capacity to identify priority areas for inclusion in the Northwest Territories Protected Areas Strategy.

For the British Columbia government Round River developed a Conservation Area Design for the Muskwa-Kechika Management Area that set a new standard for adaptable information systems for the conservation of large intact landscapes.