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American Prairie Reserve: Conservation project finding success, fueling controversy in northeast Montana

May 29, 2015View for printing

On the cold and stormy evening of Oct. 20, 2005, 16 American bison were released on the grasslands of northeast Montana. The bison, from Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota, roamed out into a prairie landscape the species had not inhabited for 120 years.

Their new home -- the American Prairie Reserve -- is an ambitious and controversial project that aims to connect 3.5 million acres of publicly and privately held grasslands north of the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. APR is working to establish a prairie-based wildlife reserve that protects the unique ecosystem of the Great Plains, improves access to the prairie environment and provides lasting economic benefits.

Story and Photography by Ben Pierce Chronicle Outdoors Editor

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