Finally some aid may be coming to Yellowstone’s bison, artificially constrained to Yellowstone Park.
The GAO, the investigatory arm of Congress, is looking into a number of bison issues, including the failure of CUT, the Church Universal and Triumphant, a land-owning cult immediately north of the Yellowstone boundary, to allow bison to cross its land.
In 1999, a federal land exchange between the Gallatin National Forest and various private land owners was implemented. It was not just an exchange. A payout of 13-million dollars was also made to made things equal. This exchange was expected to settle numerous private/public land issues on lands north of the Park. It did in part. However, a major enticement for conservation groups to make the deal, as I remember it (I was on the Board of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition at the time), was that CUT would receive land and give up lands in order to facilitate bison migration and winter range. Instead, they have actually brought in cattle (the notion that bison will give cattle brucellosis is one of excuses used to keep bison inside YNP). Yes, it’s time to see whether taxpayers got what they paid for. See the story below.
GAO to examine bison management. 13M deal to open land north of Yellowstone has never been implemented. By Mike Stark. Billings Gazette Staff
Update. 3-3-2007. Bison management under federal investigation. Missoula Independent.