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15th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Natural World
Flathead River Valley, near the Montana-Canada border.

This is the wildest valley in the lower 48 states - it's home to the highest density of grizzly bears in the mainland US, a critical habitat and travel zone for many other species, an international biosphere reserve, and a core piece of the Crown of the Continent – one of barely a dozen completely intact natural ecosystems left on the planet. Just a few years ago this area was under threat by entities pushing for a mountain top removal coal mining operation to extract coal for Chinese steel plants. But thanks to the work of the Nature Conservancy, multiple state and federal lawmakers, regional native tribes, and the Canadian government, agreements were reached that kept the wildness preserved. Mining and drilling is now permanently barred on 430,000 acres adjacent to Glacier National Park.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 07.2017
Date Uploaded: 11.2017
Photo Location: Polebridge, Montana, United States of America
Camera: Canon EOS 6D
Copyright: © Allison Tenn