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"We’re going to change the economics of the native grass seed industry," Arbuckle said. "The Seedster isn’t a combine or a stripper, but a new-fangled plucker. This harvester isn’t a better mousetrap; it’s the first one."
This fall American Prairie Foundation has opened over 5,000 acres of land to the public through the Block Management Program.
Nowhere else in the United States is conservation more possible and more essential than in northeastern Montana’s plains, says Jonathan Proctor, the southern Rockies and Great Plains representative of Defenders of Wildlife. There are no large national parks or monuments protecting the Great Plains (the Charles M. Russell NWR encompasses prairies only on its fringes) and only 1.5 percent of U.S. grasslands are publicly owned. Most of those are in national grasslands that feature cattle, not bison. "The plains are the least represented ecosystem in our national parks," Proctor adds.
Prarie Dreaming – A bold initiative is underway to buy a huge swath of Montana…and turn it over to Mother Nature. The American Prarie Foundation
The group’s plan—called simply the Prairie Project—is to create one of the largest and most innovative conservation projects on Earth, a grassland reserve replete with as many native species as can be sustained.
Of all the species living in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem of northwest Wyoming, the pronghorn is the only one native to the American West — elk, bison and even grizzly bears moved in from Asia centuries ago — but it is by no means the least exotic.
In the New West, Do They Want Buffalo to Roam? Plans for Tourism-Friendly Reserve Concern Montana Ranchers. The American Prarie Foundation
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.
Our singular goal is to create the largest, most imaginative prairie-based wildlife reserve in the world.
Way up in Montana, witness a magnificent wild place coming back to life. The American Prarie Foundation
The American Prairie Foundation has one of the most inspiring and ambitious plans for restoring and preserving America’s disappearing wild open spaces.
The American Prairie Foundation strung together about 31,000 acres of leased and deeded property and placed the 16 bison on some of that land in October. The foundation receives technical assistance from the World Wildlife Fund.
"Conservation easements keep land in private ownership, but protect public resources," Knapp said. "That’s a nice compromise."
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