The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE), one of the world’s most treasured regions, consists of an interconnected patchwork of federal, state, and private lands. The GYE’s elk, mule deer, and pronghorn antelope (pronghorn) rely on this vast range to complete their seasonal migrations, but development increasingly threatens this natural cycle. Moreover, the GYE’s existing wildlife management framework fails to resolve the tension between wildlife and growth, leaving both wildlife and local communities vulnerable. After reviewing the scope of the GYE’s ecological challenges, this Note proposes a new solution: a policy establishing affirmative easements across designated migration corridors in the GYE and granting ownership of the easements to the GYE’s elk, mule deer, and pronghorn herds. This proposal builds on the Rights of Nature movement by granting property rights to ungulate herds and identifying new strategies to overcome traditional barriers to standing in environmental lawsuits. This Note concludes by arguing that such an innovative proposal is not only possible but critical to preserving these keystone species and the open landscapes they rely on.
Alyssa Florack-Hess, Owning the Right to Migrate: A Proposal for Migration Corridors in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, 2023 ULR 249 (2023). https://doi.org/10.26054/0d-51g3-dnyk