Impacts on Cultural Resources
Bison were and remain critical to the indigenous cultures of
Bison provide not only food, clothing, fuel, tools, and shelter, but also are central to Plains tribal spiritual culture, viewed as an earthly link to the spiritual world. For many tribes, bison represent power and strength. For example, the Shoshone believe that spiritual power is concentrated in the physical form of the bison. Many contemporary tribes maintain a spiritual connection with bison.
Traditional use of bison by humans centers on hunting and is evidenced in the archeological record. The remains of game drives, including both the fences and bison jump sites, as well as chipping stations, wickiups, and weapons, are all associated with the importance of hunting bison for tribal economy and culture.
Most archeological sites in the
Since the Draft Environmental Impact Statement was published, a site-specific archeological investigation of resources found in the vicinity of
In all alternatives, bison would be killed while occupying their historic range. Bison populations would be slightly higher than under alternative 1 for the first 10 years of the modified preferred alternative and slightly lower for the remaining five years of this bison management planning period. In addition, some alternatives, including 2, 3, and the modified preferred alternative, would allow bison to occupy a greater portion of their historic range. This would have a minor to major positive impact on tribes and individuals who regard wild and free-ranging bison as culturally important. Reductions in the population size compared to the no-action alternative (alternative 1) would occur on a short-term basis in alternatives 5 and 6, might occur on a short-term basis in alternative 4, and would occur on a long-term basis in alternative 7. Alternative 5 and phase 2 of alternative 6 are also more restrictive than under current management. Those alternatives that restrict bison movements and result in moderate or major reductions in the size of the herd would have a major adverse impact on tribes viewing bison as culturally important. These include alternative 5 and phase 2 of alternative 6.
In most alternatives, the process of monitoring and vaccinating bison would change their appearance. Bison would be marked with visible metal ear tags, paper back tags, and paint/peroxide stripes to indicate to managers and others that they have tested negative for the Brucella organism. These actions alter the historic image of the bison and would have a temporary, moderate impact on the historic landscapes. This would not be true of alternatives where untested bison would be allowed outside the park, including step 3 of the modified preferred alternative.
The construction of new capture or quarantine facilities would have the potential to affect archeological resources. In all alternatives proposing construction of bison management facilities (all except alternative 2), site-specific surveys would be conducted prior to ground-disturbing activities, and every effort would be made to avoid known archeological resources. Should avoidance prove impossible, the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, and state agencies would develop mitigating measures in consultation with the state historic preservation officer and the advisory council. Therefore, the impact would likely be negligible or minor.
Removal of the capture facilities, as proposed in alternative 2, would have a beneficial impact on the historic landscape. The construction of several new capture facilities in alternatives 5 and 6 would have a temporary but significant adverse impact on the historic landscape of
Did You Know?
Yellowstone contains approximately one-half of the world’s hydrothermal features. There are over 10,000 hydrothermal features, including over 300 geysers, in the park.