Bison on Grand Canyon National Park

BisonthmContact your Representatives to Urge Support of Legislation

If you’ve been following our coverage of this issue, you know we have commented and recommended a suggested third alternative to the National Park Service's Environmental Assessment (see info below). We are realistic enough to know the NPS will likely discount that input, however we don't believe the Secretary of the Interior will, nor will Congress, and optimistically, nor will the President.
 
We've sent Secretary Zinke our input. Representatives Gosar, Franks, O'Halleran and Schweikert are co-sponsoring bi-partisan legislation in the House with the Grand Canyon Bison Management Act.

If you live in the Congressional District of Representatives McSally, Grijalva, Biggs, Gallego or Sinema, please call them and urge them to join the other Arizona Representatives in cosponsoring this bill. It's unlikely we'll get Grijalva or Gallego to support it, but they still need to know where we stand, and you in particular if you're one of their constituents!
 
We also need to turn up the heat on Senators McCain and Flake and get them to introduce the same bill in the Senate. Please take a few minutes and give their offices a call.
 
Click on the links below to find contact information for your Representatives and Senators.

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/AZ#representatives
https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/AZ#senators

The NPS Plan:
The NPS has assessed and evaluated this issue ad nauseam.  After several years, two Park superintendents, lots of meetings, input and now more input, they are now proposing two options to consider, with a “suite of management tools”.   Those two options are:

  • Alternative 1…do nothing, status quo, buffalo expand, habitat destroyed.
  • Alternative 2…cull them with teams of “skilled” volunteers & Tribal members, haze them, round them up, corral & capture them and give them away to “willing recipients, such as tribes, the state of Arizona, other federal agencies, and non-governmental organizations.”

Our View and Input:
Alternative 1 is not an option, and candidly neither is Alternative 2.  After several years of negotiation, it’s closer than where we were, but alas, no cigar.  We need to advocate for a third option.  This would be a common sense, bureaucracy reducing, taxpayer savings, financially prudent solution to too many bison and too much habitat degradation on the Grand Canyon. 

Let’s call it Alternative #3, or maybe the “Grand Canyon Bison Management Reduction Program”. (For a Wyoming parallel, click here)

Suggested Alternative  3, “Grand Canyon Bison Management Reduction Program”:

  • These bison aka buffalo were initially purchased by the state of Arizona, are owned by the state of Arizona, and have been managed by the Arizona Game & Fish Department (Department).  This should continue in concert with the NPS.
  • The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation should govern the management of these state owned animals.
  • Management options would be set forth into a timetable to reduce the bison on the Park to 200 animals in 3 to 5 years.
  • The Department should manage public hunting opportunities available for all citizens.
  • Citizen hunting would invoke the highest level of ethics coupled with the proper treatment and handling of the carcass as a standard, with the meat, head and cape going to the successful hunter.
  • Taxpayer dollars should not be used to “cull”, butcher and process bison that are shot on the park…let citizen hunters pay for the privilege!
  • Planning, capture and translocation of these bison owned by the state of Arizona should be carried out jointly with the Department and the NPS, with disposal options going first to the Department.
  • We are continually told hunting is not allowed on National Park land, which is not true.  Elk hunting is allowed on the Grand Teton National Park (Grand Teton) coordinated with the Wyoming Game & Fish Department. 
  • Hunting is allowed on 51,097,000 acres of NPS administered lands, 60% of the total!  https://www.doi.gov/blog/hunting-and-fishing-national-parks-and-fish-and-wildlife-refuges
  • Park issues unique to Grand Canyon should be treated in a similar fashion as those that arose with Grand Teton and consider their model as a guideline:
    https://www.fws.gov/bisonandelkplan/