Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation (WPEF)

We are a science-based non-profit dedicated to counteracting the decline of whitebark pine and enhancing knowledge about the value of its ecosystems.


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Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation
PO Box 17943
Missoula, Montana 59808

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Skier skiing through snow in whitebark pine habitat.

Yellowstone Club Certified as Whitebark Pine Friendly Ski Area

Image credit: Yellowstone Club

Media Contacts:

Julee Shamhart — (406) 925-9545 — [email protected]

Jeff Cadry — (651) 271-7049 — [email protected]


Yellowstone Club Certified as Whitebark Pine Friendly Ski Area

First U.S. Ski Resort on Fully Private Land to Earn This Conservation Designation

BIG SKY, Mont. (Dec. 07, 2023) — The Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation has certified Yellowstone Club as a Whitebark Pine Friendly Ski Area, recognizing its substantial management efforts to protect the threatened tree species. Yellowstone Club is the first ski resort on exclusively private-owned land to earn this certification in the U.S.

“The Yellowstone Club consistently has demonstrated its commitment to restoring whitebark pine and setting an example for the outdoor industry in conserving these vital mountain forests,” said Mike Giesey, Chair of the Ski Area Partnership Committee for the Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation.

Whitebark pine as a keystone species plays a critical role in mountain ecosystems across western North America by protecting snowpack, regulating streamflow, stabilizing soils, and producing high-calorie seeds for wildlife, including grizzly bears, red squirrels, and Clark’s nutcrackers.

However, the trees are experiencing widespread mortality due to a fungal disease (white pine blister rust), mountain pine beetle infestations, and other impacts of climate change. Whitebark pine was listed as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act in 2023.

The Yellowstone Club joins a growing list of ski resorts dedicated to sustaining mountain forests and promoting sustainable slopes. The resort’s certification provides a template of how whitebark pine conservation can be carried out across all land ownerships by building partnerships with leaders in forestry management.

“Over the past 15 years, we have facilitated scientific research, implemented a monitoring program, and completed many restoration projects to promote whitebark pine into the future of our forests,” said Jeff Cadry, Environmental Manager for the Yellowstone Club. “It’s an honor to partner with the Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation to be the first ski area in the U.S. that owns and manages its own land to earn their seal of approval in our conservation efforts.”

The Yellowstone Club has developed a management plan that outlines restoration actions for its 2,900-acre resort. Since 2010, they have transplanted over 500 whitebark pine trees and established 18 permanent monitoring plots. These plots are monitored for blister rust severity, mountain pine beetle presence, cone production, seedling regeneration, mortality levels, transplanting success rates, and identifying future restoration areas.

In addition to monitoring and restoration efforts, the Yellowstone Club also focuses on public outreach. A new interpretive sign highlighting the ecological role of whitebark pine trees will be installed in 2024 near a highly trafficked ski run.

“Protecting whitebark pine trees is an essential part of Yellowstone Club’s commitment to preserving its surrounding natural beauty,” said Jeff Cadry. “We are proud to be recognized for our efforts and encourage other ski resorts to join us in taking action to conserve this vital species.”

The Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation is a nonprofit based in Missoula, Montana that promotes the conservation and restoration of whitebark pine and other high-elevation, five-needle white pines through education and outreach, research, and collaborations.

More information about whitebark pine, the foundation, and its ski area certification program can be found at whitebarkfound.org. More information about the Yellowstone Club can be found at yellowstoneclub.com.