Billionaires Back $60 Million Bison Park
3.5 million acres
A plan to assemble as much as 3.5 million acres of private and public land—about a million acres larger than Yellowstone National Park—for a free-roaming bison reservation has some Montana locals fuming, Bloomberg News reports.
The organization behind the land-grab, Prairie Reserve has attracted $60 million from wealthy Wall Street and Silicon Valley financiers. The promise to investors: A chance to get on the ground floor of a potential national park. After assembling the land, the nonprofit hopes to populate it with up to 10,000 genetically pure bison. The group will then allow the public full use of the park.
“Think of it like an empty aquarium,” Sean Gerrity, 54, president of and the driving force behind the Prairie Reserve and a former Silicon Valley management consultant told Bloomberg News. “What we sell is the possibility, and we sell ourselves as the people capable of bringing that vision to fruition.”
But locals are upset at the suggestion that they and their forebears have done little to protect and restore the environment. “This landscape was broken in the Dust Bowl of the 1930s,” Linda Poole, a local to the area, told Bloomberg News. “Ranchers and the Soil Conservation Service worked and brought this prairie back. It’s not pristine; it’s restored. It doesn’t need to be saved from ranchers; it was already saved by ranchers.”