A wild bison population will require a large and diverse landscape, providing for a diversity of natural selection and allowing bison to use their innate wild characteristics, especially mobility. The area including and surrounding the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge (CMR) is a unique opportunity to provide this landscape. It contains abundant, mostly contiguous public land. Aside from the Refuge, much public land is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), with relatively small areas of state land interspersed.

Importantly, private ranches are interspersed with this public land. A major landholder is the American Prairie Reserve (APR), which is developing its own bison herd (by necessity, as private livestock) and is open to collaborating to establish public, wild bison on APR lands.

Here, we describe issues for restoring public, wild bison related to the CMR and APR. Additional information regarding the BLM and other private lands in the area is envisioned, but not yet compiled.


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