Conservation Stories: Trees Worth Fighting for by Columbia Sportswear


The work at Conservation Alliance wouldn't be possible without all of our outdoor industry brand members. But a lot of them aren't only involved with Conservation Alliance; many of our member brands are committed to a diverse variety of environmental causes. Every Thursday we'll be featuring a cross-post from one of our member companies to highlight the causes that they're active in. This week we were inspired by a post written over on the Columbia blog entitled Trees Worth Fighting For.


How do you define what you love? How do you place a value on it? Would you say that loving something makes it worth fighting for? For a group of dedicated outdoor lovers, fighting for the environment is exactly how they express their love for it. In their words Tree Fight “is an initiative to inform the public of the plight of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem’s Whitebark pines, and to search for solutions to prevent their extinction.” Why fight for the Whitebark? In the words of Nancy Bockino, Grand Teton National Park ecologist, “Whitebark pines are one of the most ecologically important tree species living in the western United States…and can live more than a thousand years.”

Threatened by mountain pine beetles, whose habitat is spreading to higher elevations due to warming alpine temperatures, the Whitebark of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) are under attack. The 2-million acre Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is heralded as the last remaining intact temperate ecosystem on earth. It includes Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone Park, the National Elk Refuge, six national forests, and portions of Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho. It’s thought that half this country’s Whitebark pines live in the GYE.

Tree Fight is taking a unique approach to fighting the invasive pine beetle. “From mid June to late July, we hiked to several distinct areas in the Bridger Teton National Forest where Whitebark pine survive. In each of these plots, we applied pheromone packets to several acres of Whitebark. These packets, which transmit a message to mountain pine beetles that the nearest trees are already occupied, are stapled individually to trees at chest height.” Basically, they’re going around marking the trees as already infested, in order to help save them. Pretty ingenious, wouldn’t you say?

You can read more about Tree Fight’s efforts, and the Whitebark pines of the GYE, as well donate to the cause, at