February 5, 2010
US Forest Service Region 1
P. O. Box 7669
Missoula, MT 59807-7669
RE: Petition to designate Bison as a sensitive species in Region One, USFS
Dear Ms. Weldon:
We understand that Region One is reviewing and updating their list of designated sensitive wildlife species. We recommend that bison be designated for the following reasons:
1. Region One bison are absent from their historic range and the only wild free-ranging bison are within the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park (YNP).
2. Almost 4,000 bison have been slaughtered since year 2000, and many uncounted before.
3. Starting in the year 1988-1989, 669 buffalo were shot by licensed shooters mostly in the barrow pit of US Highway 89, north of Gardiner, MT and we became a pariah nation.
4. This started the all-out slaughter by the Montana State Department of Livestock and USDA’s APHIS. The slaughter was so thoroughly carried out that the public hunting season on bison has been an embarrassment. No bison are crossing the Park boundary.
5. Last year, 2009, a single 4 year old bull managed to make it to National Forest, where immediately a licensed shooter killed him. The only wild free roaming bison in the State of Montana on National Forest was killed tragically
6. National Forest and Montana State acquired Wildlife Management Areas in the Gardiner Basin is waiting for this wildlife icon. There is more public land and less ranchers and cattle in the Gardiner Basin than in any other part of Region 1.
7. In the West Yellowstone Basin there is more public land and less cattle grazing than any other place in Region One.
8. All we have to do is allow bison to move into these wildlife forage areas on their own four feet. And Montana would be thanked by the nation, who is sick and tired of the politics of Stockgrowers and brucellosis.
9. The 3,000 bison within YNP are genetically endangered and subject to in-breeding. We want bison to be managed as wildlife by the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and not as diseased livestock.
10. We need hundreds and thousands of bison to regain genetic viability. If the USFS does not remedy the situation we may lose the little that survive in the wild.
11. It is a vital necessity that Region One USFS bison be designated a sensitive native wildlife species, and force our Montana State Governor to do the correct thing. He has been politically pandering to stockgrowers, and you are our only hope to bring sanity to this political situation.
12. Do not worry about state rights; we will protect you from this specious issue.