09 July 2009

Buffalo Commons - Airs July 13

The problems of the Great Plains have been chronicled for decades-- lack of industry, an aging population, towns closing up shop and reverting to prairie scrub.

That's where the idea of a "Buffalo Commons" comes in. Backers want to accumulate big swaths of the Plains, and repopulate the land with bison and other native species.

A group called the American Prairie Foundation is trying to do that in northeastern Montana, around the town of Malta. It's knitting together a hodgepodge of old family ranches and public land, with the hope of eventually luring in ecotourists.

It's a pretty radical idea for a part of the country that's pretty, but decidedly NOT radical.

Here's a portrait from the Plains from producers Dan Collison and Elizabeth Meister.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Anyone interested in more information about the Buffalo Commons should look at my Rutgers website, policy.rutgers.edu/faculty/popper. I and my wife Deborah, a geographer at the College of Staten Island/City University of New York and Princeton University, originated the idea in 1987.

In addition to the American Prairie Foundation, another national group aiming to create the Buffalo Commons is the Texas-based Great Plains Restoration Council, which operates mainly in the southern Plains. It is at gprc.org, and its president is Jarid Manos, greatplains@gprc.org. Full disclosure: I chair its board.

Another group that might interest listeners is the New Mexico-based National Center for Frontier Communities, frontierus.org. It does research on and advocates for small isolated communities, in the Great Plains and elsewhere around the country, including east of the Mississippi. Its executive director is Carol Miller, carol@frontierusorg. More disclosure: Deborah and I are on its board. Best wishes,
Frank Popper
Rutgers and Princeton Universities
fpopper@rci.rutgers.edu, fpopper@princeton.edu
732-932-4009, X689