During our ride on Montana’s Prairie Breaks bikepacking route last summer, our good friend and regular riding partner Joel Caldwell documented the trip and the area’s conservation efforts for Patagonia. His story was just published on The Cleanest Line, Patagonia’s story site covering activism, adventure, and conservation.
“Just 200 years ago, the Great Plains—a landscape now commonly referred to as flyover country—was one of the biological wonders of the world. Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, John James Audubon and Walt Whitman heaped it with ecstatic praise. Stretching from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains and from Saskatchewan to Texas, the plains were home to 25 million bison, 15 million pronghorn, billions of waterfowl and at least 100,000 grizzly bears (grizzlies were only exiled into mountainous regions in recent human history). Mountain lions and wolf packs hunted through endless seas of five-foot-tall grass, pursuing innumerable elk, bighorn sheep, mule deer, coyotes, black-footed ferrets and prairie dogs. Environmental historian Dan Flores refers to this overwhelming show of biodiversity as the American Serengeti.”
Joel goes on to detail what’s being done to restore this magnificent ecosystem, and recounts our trip in exquisite detail. Check out this excellent 15-minute read over at Patagonia.com. And for more information on the route, see below.