Agencies, tribes endorse plan for bison to roam

Billings, Montana (AP) April 2011

The director of an American Indian group focused on bison restoration says he will give the final approval needed for a proposal to let the animals roam more freely outside Yellowstone National Park.

Jim Stone with the Intertribal Bison Cooperative said he planned to sign the agreement at a meeting in Gardiner. Already ratified by seven state, federal and tribal agencies, the agreement would allow bison onto about 75,000 acres north of Yellowstone.

Over the last decade almost 4,000 Yellowstone bison have been shipped to slaughter to prevent the spread of the livestock disease brucellosis.

The meeting marks the official unveiling of the agreement, which was months in the making.

Livestock interests remain wary. Errol Rice with the Montana Stockgrowers Association criticized the process for a lack of transparency.