Critics slam bison plan

  -I've got two words for this plan: it stinks," said Page McNeill, chair of the Wyoming chapter of the Sierra Club, at a recent public meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyo.


Criticism of the draft management plan for the Yellowstone National Park bison herd (HCN, 7/6/98) came fast and furious at the Aug. 10 meeting, where more than 30 people attacked the Park Service's $30 million plan to quarantine, vaccinate and reduce the herd.


During the harsh winter of 1996-'97, bison poured out of the park in search of winter foraging grounds. Because many bison are infected with brucellosis, more than 1,000 migrating bison were killed near the park by state and federal officials, sparking a national controversy.


Although there are no documented cases of brucellosis transmission from bison to livestock, ranchers fear the state will lose its "brucellosis-free" status - a federal stamp of approval allowing livestock to be sold outside the state - if the disease is not completely eliminated from the park's wandering bison herd.


"Brucellosis infection is an example of the park's non-management," Robert Hendry, vice president of the Wyoming Stockgrowers Association, told the crowd. "Management does not mean letting things manage themselves."


Many environmentalists at the meeting said elimination of the disease is impossible. Instead of shooting wayward animals and using an unproven vaccine, they said, the park should reduce the risk of transmission by acquiring more winter range for bison.


"Risk management, not brucellosis eradication, is more realistic," said David Ditloff of the Wyoming Wildlife Federation.


Jackson Hole resident Geneen Haugen reminded the park - and the industry - to heed the concerns voiced at the meeting. "This is an issue of heart and emotion," she said. "Public opinion is a greater threat to the livestock industry than brucellosis will ever be."


Written comment on the plan will be accepted until Oct. 16. Send to Sarah Bransom, Interagency Bison Management Plan, DSC-RP, P.O. Box 25287, Denver, CO 80225-0287.


* Rachel Odell


High Country News Classifieds
  • COPPER STAIN: ASARCO'S LEGACY IN EL PASO
    Tales from scores of ex-employees unearth the human costs of an economy that runs on copper.
  • FEATURES DIRECTOR - HIGH COUNTRY NEWS
    High Country News, an award-winning news organization covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, seeks a Features Director to join our editorial...
  • GENERAL MANAGER
    The Board of UYWCD seeks a new GM to manage operations & to implement our robust strategic plan. Details at www.upperyampawater.com. EOE
  • IN TUCSON, FOR SALE: A BEAUTIFUL, CLASSIC MID-CENTURY MODERN HOME
    designed by architect David Swanson in 1966. Located a block from Saguaro National Forest, yet minutes to Downtown and the UofA campus, 3706 sqft, 6...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Friends of the San Juans is seeking a new leader guide our efforts to protect and restore the San Juan Islands and the Salish...
  • 80 ACRES
    straddles North Platte Fishery, Wyoming. Legal access 2 miles off 1-80. Call 720-440-7633.
  • DIRECTOR OF PRODUCT AND MARKETING
    High Country News seeks a Director of Product and Marketing to join our senior team during an exciting chapter of innovation and growth. This individual...
  • OWN A THRIVING MOUNTAIN GUIDE SERVICE.
    Eastern Sierra guide service for sale to person with vision & expertise to take it onwards. Since 1995 with USFS & NPS permits. Ideal for...
  • IMPROVED LOT
    Private road, hillside, views. Well, pad, septic, 99 sq.ft. hut. Dryland permaculture orchard. Wildlife. San Diego--long growing season
  • UNIQUE INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY
    Profitable off-the-grid business located 2 miles from Glacier National Park. Owner has 6 years operating experience. Seeking investor or partner for business expansion and enhancement....
  • REMOTE SITKA ALASKA FLOAT HOUSE VACATION RENTAL
    Vacation rental located in calm protected waters 8 miles from Sitka, AK via boat with opportunities to fish and view wildlife. Skiff rental also available.
  • EXPERT LAND STEWART
    Available for site conservator, property manager. View resume at http://skills.ojadigital.net.
  • CONSERVATIONIST? IRRIGABLE LAND?
    Stellar seed-saving NGO is available to serious partner. Package must include financial support. Details: http://seeds.ojaidigital.net.
  • CANYONLANDS FIELD INSTITUTE
    Colorado Plateau Natural & Human History Field Seminars. Lodge, river, hiking options. Small groups, guest experts.
  • WESTERN NATIVE SEED
    Specializing in native seeds and seed mixes for western states.
  • CHUCK BURR'S CULTUREQUAKE.COM BLOG
    Change will happen when we see a new way of living. Thinking to save the world.
  • COMING TO TUCSON?
    Popular vacation house, furnished, 2 bed/1 bath, yard, dog-friendly. Lee at [email protected] or 520-791-9246.
  • OJO CALIENTE COMMERCIAL VENTURE
    Outstanding location near the world famous Ojo Caliente Mineral Spring Resort. Classic adobe Mercantile complete w/living quarters, separate 6 unit B&B, metal building and spacious...