The killing of bison outside Yellowstone made it a gloomy winter for staff at the nation’s oldest national park.
More than 1,000 of the animals were killed this winter after they crossed into Montana, because of fears they carry brucellosis - a disease that can cause cattle to spontaneously abort. Park rangers also watched winter recreational use from snowmobilers and cross-country skiers drop 18 percent this winter, Superintendent Mike Finley said Tuesday.
“I’ve thought a lot about it. This was supposed to have been a wonderful winter leading up to the big celebration of Yellowstone’s 125th birthday. Instead, it’s been a winter of discontent,” Finley said.
“We are very troubled with what has happened to the bison,” said Finley, in Estes Park to attend the Intermountain Region conference of park superintendents.
Finley and his staff spent most of the winter season coping with the park’s roaming bison.
Nearly half of the park’s herd died. Some Yellowstone rangers placed black tape over the bison on their National Park Service badges in protest of Montana’s practice.
Finley said the park is re-entering negotiations on an environmental impact statement about how to cope with a “risk-management” problem.
“It’s a complex issue when you are dealing with diseases and emotions and economics,” Finely said.
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