Snowshoeing with Wildlife

Last winter I tagged along on a snowshoe trip through MacDonald Pass near Helena as part of a recent Defenders of Wildlife effort to involve the public in its research and causes. Defenders is a well-known proponent of wolf rights, but what may come as a surprise is that the organization has a variety of programs supporting other animals in the spirit of maintaining biodiversity all over the United States.

This particular trip, consisting of a ragtag crew from Missoula, Helena, and Bozeman, followed badass Montana biologist Steve Gehman of Wild Things Unlimited as he tracked lynx through the wildlife corridor of the pass. Lynx, threatened mostly because of habitat loss and the diminishment of their main food source—snowshoe hares—were on the threatened list in 2000.

Along with Steve and Sunny the dog, we snowshoed in about six miles, tracking lynx and hares. The highlight of the day was the lynx bed we found buried in the trees.

For more information about Defenders of Wildlife educational trips, visit For more information about Wild Things Unlimited, visit