Yellowstone lays out bison management options

The park is revising how to handle bison that roam outside its boundaries

Yellowstone National Park has released a new draft environmental impact statement for managing bison in the park. The document lays out three alternative management strategies.

Bison that roam outside the park raise concerns about spreading brucellosis to cattle. Since the current plan was drafted in 2000, the park has largely relied on capturing bison that leave the park and shipping them to be slaughtered. But recent programs have offered Tribal hunting opportunities and provided disease-free bison (Bison bison) to tribes.

The proposed alternatives include continuing the existing program, increasing bison transfer and hunting programs, and doing away with the slaughter program altogether.

“This document updates new information and changed circumstances since 2000,” the draft plan says. “Expected outcomes of the process include an (environmental impact statement) and plan that incorporates new information, changed circumstances, and two decades of lessons learned; an enhanced ecological role for bison; increased hunting opportunities outside the park; and more brucellosis-free bison restored to tribal lands.”

The National Park Service is accepting public comments on the document through Sept. 25.

Header Image: The National Park Service is revising how it manages bison that roam outside Yellowstone National Park. Credit: Jacob W. Frank/National Park Service