It’s hard to get too excited about strategic planning, but as a road map toward future goals a plan is a critical piece of work, especially when it’s for a place as important and beloved as Yellowstone National Park. Earlier this month, the park released its five strategic priorities that will guide its short- and long-term decision making. We applaud Superintendent Cam Sholly for sharing the park’s priorities so widely and transparently.
While we had a very successful 2018, we’re looking even more forward to the endeavors of 2019. We’ll be wrapping up a few campaigns, diving deeper into some big projects, and keeping an eye out for new issues in the ecosystem that needs our attention. We asked our staff what they’re most excited for in the New Year and this is what they had to say.
(Photo Louise Johns.)
Today Yellowstone National Park released a long-awaited decision to move forward with developing a quarantine program and facility to be used to restore brucellosis-free, genetically pure, Yellowstone bison to their native habitat elsewhere in Montana and beyond. This is great news as it means that fewer Yellowstone bison will be shipped to slaughter!
Yellowstone's bison can roam in some 400 square miles outside the park, thanks tobison agency partners officially agreeing to move forward with a decree Montana's governor laid out in late 2015.
Wild bison should be managed as just that – wildlife – like all other native wildlife are managed today in Montana. To do so, Greater Yellowstone bison need more year-round habitat outside of Yellowstone National Park. Today’s decision by Montana Governor Steve Bullock represents a long awaited step toward realizing the vision of Yellowstone bison managed as valued and native “wildlife”. We thank Governor Bullock and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, & Parks for their efforts to give bison more room to roam.
We have an exciting new opportunity to kick off a new era of conserving Yellowstone’s iconic bison, the last remaining genetically pure bison herd in the world. After nearly 15 years, we now have a chance to fundamentally change the way wild Yellowstone bison are managed and finally start treating them as “wildlife” in Montana.
The National Park Service has announced that its leadership is starting the process of producing a new wild Yellowstone Bison Inter-agency Management Plan – after more than 14 years. The importance of this announcement cannot be overstated. It is the first time for a long time that we have an opportunity to re-write the regulations and rules that govern the manner in which bison in Yellowstone are managed.