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Release of Test Group of Bison

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Date: January 18, 2011
Contact: Al Nash, 307-344-2015

Media Advisory
Release of Test Group Of Bison

A group of state, federal, and tribal partners cooperate under the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) to conserve a viable, wild bison population while protecting Montana’s brucellosis-free status.

Risk management concerns have restricted bison from most lands outside the northern boundary of Yellowstone National Park. However, Step 2 of the IBMP allows for a mixed group of up to 25 seronegative, monitored and tagged bison to be released onto the land between the northern boundary of Yellowstone National Park and Yankee Jim Canyon, at the northern end of the Gardiner Basin. Under the IBMP, these bison will be allowed in this area outside the park boundary until April 15. The agencies will monitor the movement of these 25 bison to determine how they use this landscape with the hope that in the future 50 and eventually 100 bison can access this area.

This test group of bison is set to be released from the Stephens Creek holding facility on Wednesday morning, January 19. They will be trailed by an interagency group of riders on horseback as they move north through Yellowstone National Park and along the Old Yellowstone Trail onto Gallatin National Forest land.

Representatives of the media and interest groups who want to be on location to monitor the progress of the test group of bison after their release are asked to join representatives of the IBMP partner agencies along the Old Yellowstone Trail at the intersection of the turnoff to the Stephens Creek area north of Gardiner, Montana and inside the Yellowstone National Park boundary no later than 9:30 a.m.

Once the bison are released, the group will be escorted a distance north on the Old Yellowstone Trail to a location providing a good view of bison and riders. After the bison have moved out of view, the IBMP representatives will accompany those interested in continuing to monitor the progress of the test group of bison to a subsequent viewing location at the Devil’s Slide turnout along US-89 north of Gardiner, Montana. From there, the representatives of the partner agencies will facilitate staging at the Cinnabar River Access just south of the Corwin Springs Bridge well in advance of the arrival of the riders and bison. The group must gather at the river access site prior to the arrival of the bison, and must stay until they are well past the site. From there, those interested may travel to one final photo op point at the Montana FWP Game Check Station along US-89.

A map showing the approximate site of the above locations is available upon request by calling 307-344-2015. Due to space and safety concerns, organizations participating in this photo op caravan are asked to limit themselves to one motor vehicle and no more than three passengers per vehicle.

Most of the corridor along which the group of bison will pass is bordered by posted private land. Safety concerns also preclude spectators from being allowed in the road right-of-way as the test group of bison pass.

Those interested in participating are asked to RSVP by 5:00 pm today, Tuesday, January 18 to any one of the following:

Lyndsay Cole, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (970) 494-7410
Marna Daley, Gallatin National Forest (406) 587-6703
Melissa Frost, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (406) 581-3692
Steve Merritt, Montana Department of Livestock (406) 444-9431
Al Nash, Yellowstone National Park (307) 344-2015

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Did You Know?

Fishing Bridge.

You cannot fish from Fishing Bridge. Until 1973 this was a very popular fishing location since the bridge crossed the Yellowstone River above a cutthroat trout spawning area. It is now a popular place to observe fish.