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Yellowstone National Park is looking to the public for more tribal input on bison management

Yellowstone bison in the park grazing.
NPS/Neal Herbert

Yellowstone National Park is looking for public comment on new and old bison management strategies to include in their Environmental Impact Statement. The park wants to update its management strategies to include more tribal input and updated scientific findings.

In a press release, the park encourages comments on treaty hunting rights around the park, brucellosis testing, and population control.

Ray McPadden, Chief of Environmental Quality for the park, said while there is no tribal hunting inside the park, tribal hunting is an important part of population management that has a lot of benefits.

“We certainly like to see tribal hunting play a big role in bison management,” he said.

Another conservation strategy is the Bison Conservation Transfer Program. The park has relocated around 182 bison since 2018 to tribal nations from Yellowstone after ensuring they are brucellosis-free.

McPadden, also, said that this has been a successful management strategy.

“It's also fairly resource and cost-intensive to prove a bison does not have that disease. It's something that stores multiple tests. It's a very rigorous protocol,” he said.

In less than a week, the park has already received 600 statements. Public comment is open through Feb. 28 and can be sent online or by mail. Two webinars will be held on Feb. 9 and 10 to address questions from the public.

The park also plans to meet with tribal officials in the coming weeks.

Taylar Dawn Stagner is a central Wyoming rural and tribal reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. She has degrees in American Studies, a discipline that interrogates the history and culture of America. She was a Native American Journalist Association Fellow in 2019, and won an Edward R. Murrow Award for her Modern West podcast episode about drag queens in rural spaces in 2021. Stagner is Arapaho and Shoshone.

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