Traveling into Yellowstone National Park this weekend from West Yellowstone? Watch out for wranglers herding hundreds of bison back into the park.
Park officials say the "hazing" work could clog the road from West Yellowstone into the park at times Thursday, and perhaps even into the weekend.
While the practice of physically forcing bison back into the park from wintering and calving grounds near West Yellowstone is controversial, it is allowed under the Interagency Bison Management Plan drafted by state, federal, and tribal officials.
"The Montana Department of Livestock is heading up an interagency effort to haze approximately 500 adult bison and a number of calves-of-the-year east from the Horse Butte area across US-191 and back inside the park boundaries to an area known as Cougar Meadows starting on Thursday," a park release said Wednesday.
"Hazing operations will involve moving bison moving south of Cougar Meadows along the Madison River and onto the road between West Yellowstone and Madison Junction.
To avoid traffic congestion due to moving bison for the next two to three days, visitors who plan to enter or exit the park through West Yellowstone are encouraged to do so before 10:00 a.m. or after 4:00 p.m., and to use extreme caution if traveling the West Entrance road between these hours.
Yellowstone National Park has cooperated with its state, federal, and tribal partners under the IBMP since 2000 to conserve a viable, wild bison population while protecting Montana’s brucellosis-free status. More information on the IBMP can be found at http://ibmp.info/