(the only Group Working in Yellowstone
Special Update about Antelope Basin habitat
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Your comments are urgently needed to protect potential buffalo habitat
outside Yellowstone's western boundary. Please read the following information
and send comments by the end of the day on Monday, January 27.
The Antelope Basin Environmental Assessment (EA) contains some interesting
information. After the first edition of the EA came out in February 2002,
there were a lot of negative comments on it, and the Beaverhead National
Forest went back to work on it. On 5-15-02, the Bozeman Chronicle ran
an editorial suggesting that Antelope Basin, if cattle grazing were to
be suspended (Alternative C) or grazing were shifted to horses and/or
sheep, would be prime summering and wintering grounds for bison.
Right now, there are about 11,225 Animal Unit Months (AUMs) allowed in
the planning area and under Alternative A it would stay that way. Alternative
B, the preferred Alternative, would reduce that number to about 10,453
AUMs. Alternative C suspends cattle grazing in the grazing allotments.
Antelope Basin is about 15 miles SW of Hebgen dam, not too far from Horse
Butte, where the majority of bison slaughter has taken place in recent
years. It is on the SE corner of the Gravelly Range between Cliff Lake
and Raynolds Pass. Obviously, if you can graze 11,000+ cattle in the area,
you could graze a lot of bison in the summer. They may even consider wintering
there, instead of returning to Yellowstone, or migrate to there from Yellowstone
in the winter as they did in 1997, only to be shot down by the Montana
Dept. of Fish Wildlife and Parks.
This area also runs into the Centennial Valley area and the Red Rock Lakes
National Wildlife Refuge and Wilderness Area. To the west, north and south
of Antelope Basin, there are three large roadless areas in the Gravelly,
Snowcrest and Centennial Mountains, and huge basins in and between the
three ranges. In other words, this could be an excellent area to consider
for an expanding bison herd in search of new range.
Unfortunately, the Beaverhead NF has chosen to dodge the issue of bison
habitat by concluding that because there are no bison there now, and that
the Bison Management Plan for Yellowstone and Montana Environmental Impact
Statement (BMP EIS) supposedly restricts bison to Yellowstone and a few
minor areas outside of its boundaries, they aren't including analysis
of bison or suitable habitat in its EA. The BMP EIS is an adaptive management
plan, and can be revised to allow for bison migration or relocation to
other areas under certain conditions.
Comments on the EA are due next Monday, January 27th, 2003 and either
need to be postmarked and mailed to:
Mark Petroni, District Ranger
5 Forest Service Road
Ennis, MT 59729
--or emailed before close of business on the 27th to:
(notice that's a number one in r1, and the spaces between are underscores.
Use the Subject: "Antelope Basin/Elk Lake AMPs in the subject line
of your email.
Comments should include:
- Name, Address and telephone
number, and organization represented, if any;
- The title of the document
("Antelope Basin/Elk Lake AMP Updates EA"), which the comments
- Specific facts and supporting
reasons for the District ranger to consider
Anonymous comments will be accepted and considered, however, those who
submit anonymous comments may not have standing to appeal the decision
on this EA.
Urge Mr. Petroni to decide on Alternative C, and to consider utilizing
the habitat in the area for wild bison from Yellowstone.
The text of the EA is available online at:
If you want to see a topographic map of the area, go to Topozone.com at:
You can zoom in or out at Topozone, or pan sideways, cornerways, or up
and down to see the surrounding area.
The editorial in the Bozeman
Chronicle by Glenn Hockett can be viewed online at:
"Bison migrated along the Madison River to the edge of the Antelope
Basin during the winter of 1997 before they were gunned down by government
agents acting on behalf of the livestock industry" --Glenn Hockett
An article in the Bozeman Chronicle, Jan. 30, 1997 entitled "Witnesses
horrified by bison shoot," describes the end of the 22 mile journey
from Yellowstone to Antelope Basin for 5 bison: <http://bozemandailychronicle.com/articles/1997/01/30/news35820.txt>
Bison Ecology Project
Please see our
Press page for updated info on this situation.
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You can donate online here:
or send your donation to:
PO Box 957
West Yellowstone, MT 59758
All donations are tax-deductible and we thank you for your support! We
couldn't be here without you! Grassroots activism really does work--no
fancy offices or high paid staff--just passionate individuals joining
Feel free to contact me with any questions.
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WEST YELLOWSTONE, MT 59758