MTPR

national bison range

From left, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees Kevin Shinn, Vanessa Fields and Bernardo Garza  field public questions at an open house about future National Bison Range management in Charlo May 10, 2018.
Nicky Ouellet

The National Bison Range near Charlo has a way of anchoring itself in local’s sense of where they come from and who they are now.

Dave Stipe remembers as a kid taking visitors out to the range to see the herd.

"We grew up in our hot lunches eating the buffalo, the deer and the elk from the bison range," Stipe says.

Now, as a Lake County Commissioner, Stipe is part of a group working alongside the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to outline how the Range and a few nearby wildlife refuges will be managed in the future.

An informational sign at the entrance of the National Bison Range near Moiese, MT.
Josh Burnham

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is hosting a series of public meetings this week to hear input on five alternative plans for future management of the National Bison Range and nearby wildlife refuges.

Alternatives for two Comprehensive Conservation Plans range from continuing management as it is now,  to emphasizing visitor experience, to managing for key species, to managing for ecological sustainability, and working with tribal and local partners to increase connectivity between the refuges.

An informational sign at the entrance of the National Bison Range near Moiese, MT.
Josh Burnham

Federal wildlife officials have agreed to prepare a conservation plan for Montana's National Bison Range as part of a settlement in a lawsuit brought by an environmental group. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will prepare what’s called a comprehensive conservation plan, or CCP, for the Bison Range by 2023.

Rough-legged hawk
FLICKR USER, FRANK D. LOSPALLUTO (CC-BY-2.0)

As winter comes to the National Wildlife Refuges of the Mission Valley, we begin to see a whole different group of visitors. And I’m not just referring to the human kind. Strange as it may seem, the National Bison Range, Ninepipes National Wildlife Refuge and Pablo National Wildlife Refuge, along with other lands in the Mission Valley, are where a number of birds choose to spend their winter.

Yellowstone bison.
Yellowstone National Park - Flickr (PD)

More than half of Montana is currently in the grips of a severe drought, according to the latest numbers released by the U.S. Drought Monitor Thursday. And, as pastures shrivel up in the heat, ranchers are trucking in bales of hay and selling their cattle early.

But there’s another big, horned animal out there on the range. Bison.

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