Why are the feds paying $3.3 million to graze for 30 years on land worth only about $4 million?

More on the Royal Teton Ranch bison grazing deal

My earlier article about the Church Universal and Triumphant’s $3.3 million deal with the government and some conservation groups for bison grazing has spurred the AnimalTourism blog to do some more investigation into the value of the Royal Teton Ranch itself. What they conclude is pretty interesting. They estimate the value of the ranch to be about $3.9 million.

They ask one question though that I think can be easily answered. Why didn’t the government just buy the RTR rather than pay the exorbitant fee for 30 years of bison grazing? Well, I think that would have been a more reasonable approach too but the CUT didn’t want to sell and the government isn’t buying much anymore these days. The CUT appears to be struggling financially without these payments so they sought the best deal they could and found gullible government agencies and conservationists. It’s a shameful situation.

Why are the feds paying $3.3 million to graze for 30 years on land worth only about $4 million?
AnimalTourism News.

The Royal Teton Ranch deal gets underway.

Church Universal and Triumphant paid about $285 $314 per AUM under the $3 million deal

Buffalo calf at Stephens Creek capture facility, Yellowstone National Park.

Buffalo calf at Stephens Creek capture facility, Yellowstone National Park.

Articles about how the perennial saga of hazing, capturing, slaughtering, and hunting bison is starting once again in and around Yellowstone National Park. There is one change this year though that has left me scratching my head. This is the first year where bison leaving Yellowstone from the northern entrance of the Park near Gardiner, Montana are going to be allowed to use the Church Universal and Triumphant’s (CUT) Royal Teton Ranch (RTR) under an agreement with the National Park Service, Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, National Parks Conservation Association, and National Wildlife Federation.

The $3 million $3.3 million deal would initially allow 25 bison to use the RTR but only after they have been captured in the Stephens Creek capture facility just inside the Park boundary. They then would be subjected to squeeze chutes where they would have blood samples, fecal samples, taken from them and pregnant females would have vaginal transmitters placed in them so that biologists would be informed of the location where they give birth. Over time the deal might eventually allow up to 100 untested bison each year.

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*NEWS: Yellowstone Captures Wild Buffalo

YELLOWSTONE CAPTURES WILD BISON
23 of America’s Last Wild Bison Trapped at Stephens Creek for Royal Teton Ranch Land Lease Experiment

Bison calf being processed at the Stephens Creek Facility YNP

Bison calf being processed at the Stephens Creek Facility YNP

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 5, 2011
Contacts:
Mike Mease, Buffalo Field Campaign, 406-646-0070
Stephany Seay, Buffalo Field Campaign, 406-644-2499

GARDINER, MONTANA: Yellowstone National Park and Montana Department of Livestock officials captured twenty-three of America’s last wild bison yesterday afternoon at the Stephens Creek bison trap, located inside Yellowstone National Park.

This capture marks the onset of the highly controversial Royal Teton Ranch (RTR) land lease experiment, an endeavor opposed by wild bison advocates and one that Interagency Bison Management Plan agencies incongruously tout as “increased tolerance” for wild bison in Montana.

“This RTR scheme increases harm and disrespect to buffalo, not tolerance,” said Stephany Seay, a spokesperson with Buffalo Field Campaign.  “It’s a new phase in how Yellowstone and Montana aim to treat wild bison like livestock.”

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Ranch north of Yellowstone meant for migrating bison goes unused this winter

All “the action” was at Horse Butte west of the Park-

They were going to let 25 of what I sarcastically called “cyberbison” use the CUT (Church Universal and Triumphant)  land north of Yellowstone Park, but there was no northward migration this winter.

Ranch land for bison sees no activity first year. By Daniel Person. Bozeman Chronicle Staff Writer

Montana FWP chief OKs deal for bison route north from Park

Do we even have say this is the ultimate in tokenism?

FWP chief OKs deal for bison route. By Matthew Brown. Associated Press

Why buffalo and why not the CUT deal? Against utilitarianism

The Schweitzer news release on bison

Here it is. I can’t discern the details from what is in the release. Ralph Maughan

– – – – –

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, April 17, 2008

CONTACTS: Sarah Elliott 406-444-9725

Governor, Park Superintendent, Church President Announce RTR Agreement

(HELENA) – Governor Brian Schweitzer, Church Universal and Triumphant and Royal Teton Ranch (RTR) President Kate Gordon, Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Suzanne Lewis, and several non-government groups today announced completion of a long awaited agreement that moves the Yellowstone-area Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) through a critical step for protection of both Montana’s cattle industry and the Park bison herd.

“For a decade all parties have recognized a critical piece in solving bison, livestock and brucellosis concerns has been the RTR agreement,” said Governor Brian Schweitzer. “This is a good day for bison, livestock, and Montana. I would like to thank all the folks involved in making this happen.”

The IBMP was signed in 2000 by two Montana and three federal agencies: Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Montana Department of Livestock, Yellowstone National Park, the Forest Service, and USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The plan’s two central goals are to maintain Yellowstone’s wild, free-ranging bison population, and to protect Montana’s livestock industry from the risk of transmission of brucellosis.

Governor Schweitzer, Lewis, and Gordon jointly announced a draft agreement that contains the nuts and bolts of the deal. Superintendent Lewis announced a commitment of $1.5 million toward the deal, while the state has committed to working with nonprofits to contribute a similar amount to the 30-year grazing lease of RTR property. The agreement provides for tolerance of bison while removing cattle and reducing the risk of disease transmission.

“Considering where things stood just a few short years ago, this agreement is remarkable and historic,” said Governor Schweitzer. I commend Kate Gordon and FWP Regional Supervisor Pat Flowers, and their hard-working negotiators, for their perseverance. I especially want to thank Park Superintendent Lewis and the National Wildlife Federation, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, National Parks Conservation Association, and Montana Wildlife Federation for their help in bringing folks together, and committing to finding the dollars to seal the deal.”

The announcement comes on the heels of the recently released Government Accountability Office report that severely criticized federal agencies for lack of progress toward implementation of the IBMP. “Some thought just having this plan in place was enough, and that we didn’t need to show progress. They thought we could keep managing bison in the same scenario, year in and out and somehow expect improved results. They touted this plan as adequate protection for the cattle industry, but the discovery of a herd with brucellosis-infected animals last May way out by Bridger made clear the error of that sort of thinking,” said Governor Schweitzer. “Today we have made great progress on the disease-risk front, despite the foot-dragging by naysayers.”

“For three years now I have offered ideas and pointed out problems with the current plan. I’ve been concerned about going down the same road as Wyoming and Idaho, with loss of their disease-free status. Now we have a GAO report that echoes my concerns, and with today’s agreement we have the impetus to improve this plan, and improve it we will. We’ll continue to work in partnership with those who come to the table in a straightforward manner, with practical ideas to offer.”

The IBMP was designed to operate in steps, with each progressive step designed to better secure disease risk management and bison herd protection goals. It was originally thought that step two of the plan, the RTR deal, would be reached by the winter of 2002-2003, but the plan remained stuck in step one until Governor Schweitzer asked Fish, Wildlife, and Parks to rekindle negotiations with RTR in 2005.

###
Sarah J. Elliott
Communications Director
Governor Brian Schweitzer
406-444-9725
selliott@mt.gov<mailto:selliott@mt.gov>

Deal could limit killing of park bison

Deal could limit killing of park bison. Purchase of grazing rights from CUT ranch would create corridor for migrating animals. By Matthew Brown. Associated Press.

Finally! This is a good thing. The questions is, is it a little bit good or really good?

Time to CUT a deal [on bison]

Time to CUT a deal. For hordes of Yellowstone bison, the difference between life and death is a herd of cattle on land owned by the Church Universal and Triumphant. Buying out the church’s interests might just let the buffalo roam. By: Patrick Klemz.  Missoula Independent.

This is about the proposed deal with the Church Universal and Triumphant to let about 100 bison roam just north of Yellowstone Park. The comment by Glenn Hockett should be read along with the story.