In the New West, Do They Want Buffalo to Roam? Plans for Tourism-Friendly Reserve Concern Montana Ranchers. The American Prarie Foundation

What are the Northern Plains good for?

The soil is bad, the weather worse and the landscape achingly dull. Collapsing barns punctuate a scraggly sea of brown grass and bleached boulders. The population peaked a century ago, and remaining ranchers cannot stop their children from running off to a less lonesome life.

For the first time in more than a century, buffalo calves were born in eastern Montana on land the American Prairie Foundation owns.

But a grand new vision is taking shape for this depopulated patch of the prairie. It includes wild herds of buffalo and boomtowns of prairie dogs, as well as restaurants and hotels for high-end tourists who would descend on small towns such as Malta.

By Blaine Harden
Washington Post Staff Writer

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