MSU Library acquires collection of Greater Yellowstone Coalition materials

Minutes from one of the first annual meetings of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition indicate that some of the environmental advocacy’s group’s first discussions centered on fire history and management in Yellowstone National Park, grizzly bears, acid rain and general threats to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

“These planning documents from (the Greater Yellowstone Coalition’s) 1985 annual meeting clearly show the scope and procedural nature of a relatively new environmental advocacy group,” according to Natalie Bond, assistant archivist at the Montana State University Library. The coalition was founded in 1983.

These and other materials documenting the Greater Yellowstone Coalition’s environmental campaigns over the course of three decades will soon be available for the public to peruse at the MSU Library.

The collection, which will be available for the public to view in MSU Library’s Special Collection and Archives, includes both paper and electronic records documenting the organizational history of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition and the environmental campaigns on which it worked. Those materials include newspaper clippings featuring various environmental topics, annual meeting materials, Greater Yellowstone Coalition newsletters and publications, maps and various audiovisual materials. In all, the collection includes 29 boxes of materials.

The materials should be noteworthy to individuals interested in the history of conservation nonprofits and advocacy in the region, as well as in the environmental history of the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, according to Bond.

“These records document the work and advocacy of one of the most active conservation organizations in the region,” Bond said. “They track the arc of (the Greater Yellowstone Coalition’s) environmental campaigns over three decades, providing a unique look into Montana and regional environmental history as well as providing a level of transparency for the organization itself.”

Caroline Byrd, executive director of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, said it made sense to donate the collection to MSU.

“As our home base for more than 36 years, the Bozeman community has played an important role in the evolution of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition,” Byrd said. “We are proud to share our rich history of protecting and enhancing the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem with Montana State University and the world through the university’s extraordinary archival program.”

“We are grateful to the Greater Yellowstone Coalition board for choosing to donate this collection to the MSU Library,” said Kenning Arlitsch, dean of the MSU Library. “This donation ensures these important historical documents will be available to the public forever.”

Arlitsch added that the Greater Yellowstone Coalition collection joins a number of other collections at the MSU Library that focus on the Yellowstone region. In particular, the library houses the collection of Rick Reese, who was the founding president of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, as well as the papers of Mike Clark, who was a former executive director of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.

“Along with other collections, the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Rick Reese and Mike Clark collections form a compelling documentary record of both local and regional environmental conservation efforts,” Arlitsch said.

The MSU Library’s Special Collections and Archives has more than 800 active collections. It specializes in collections related to Montana agriculture and ranching, Montana engineering and architecture, Montana history, MSU history, Native Americans in Montana, prominent Montanans, trout and salmonids, U.S. Sen. Burton K. Wheeler, and Yellowstone National Park and the Yellowstone ecosystem. More information is available online at