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Bison may get ground to stand on

 

Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story.

The Church Universal and Triumphant remains willing to remove all cattle from its Royal Teton Ranch and to allow bison to roam there once state and federal government make some commitments of their own.

Here are the highlights of the church's proposal, some of which are similar to the "preferred alternative" in the ongoing bison-management environmental impact statement.

* The church would remove all cattle from its ranch for at least five years and possibly longer.

* The National Park Service must establish a carrying capacity for bison in the park and "remove" animals that exceed that capacity.

* The church would establish a bison carrying capacity for its own property.

* Bison outside the park and near its borders would be carefully monitored.

* The Park Service would maintain and operate its bison trap just inside the park border. Animals "determined to be brucellosis-free or low risk" would be released gradually and allowed to wander church property. The plan does not define "low risk."

* There would be a "no kill" policy for bison on the ranch, unless they threaten property or human safety. If killing is required, it would be done "outside the purview of the general public."

* There would be no hazing of bison released from the park until spring, when they can be chased back into Yellowstone.

* There would be no vaccination or testing of bison on the property and no bison hunting.