GYC, partners help landowners live with bison

Got bison? Need a fence? We’ll help you pay for it.

Our Yellowstone Bison Coexistence Program (in partnership with Defenders of Wildlife, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Sierra Club) will help pay for 50 percent of the cost (up to $1,000) to build a bison fence on your property.

Landowner Melissa Alder being interviewed last April about the new fencing that protects her fragile aspens from bison. We and our partners are helping landowners cover the costs of bison fencing in the new bison tolerance zones outside Yellowstone. (Photo GYC.)

Landowner Melissa Alder being interviewed last April about the new fencing that protects her fragile aspens from bison. We and our partners are helping landowners cover the costs of bison fencing in the new bison tolerance zones outside Yellowstone. (Photo GYC.)

The goal is to help people live with bison outside Yellowstone National Park. Good fences make good neighbors, particularly when those neighbors are shaggy, 2,000-pound herbivores that are better off staying out of gardens, landscaped yards, and livestock pastures.

Since 2011, we’ve completed more than 35 fencing projects both north and west of the Park (specifically, in the Gardiner and Hebgen basins), and contributed more than $42,000 in reimbursements and materials. As summer 2016 wanes, the clock is ticking for landowners to sign up before the end of the season.

This is a smart, solution-based program that benefits both people on the ground and wild bison. But don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what a few satisfied landowners have had to say about the project:

Our five acres (north of Yellowstone) is constantly used by wildlife that our guests very much enjoy watching. We have big post fencing protecting the pine trees from the bison who like to rub the low hanging branches to remove their fur. Our fences are great conversation starters with visitors, about how living with wildlife is a treat. Since the bison fence installment several years ago, the minimal property damage we had before fencing is now zero. And the bison fences even look good!
Sabina and Greg Strauss, Yellowstone Basin Inn Gardiner, MT
My backyard fence has diminished my anxieties and allows me to relax a little more. It’s funny what a little elbow grease, wire and wooden posts can do for a group of friends and neighbors in a small community like ours.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Karrie Taggart, Horse Butte/West Yellowstone MT

If you’d like to apply for this cost-share fencing program, please get in touch with me at sdunkley (at) greateryellowstone.org, or with Montana FWP’s Sam Sheppard at ssheppard (at) mt.gov.

For more information, please click here to read our brochure.

-- Shana Dunkley, Wildlife Program Associate