Badlands National Park to celebrate expanded bison range

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FILE – In this April 25, 2012, file photo, a herd of bison move through land controlled by the American Prairie Reserve south of Malta, Mont. The group announced Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019 that it is scaling back its request for bison grazing on public lands following strong opposition from surrounding landowners. (AP Photo/Matt Brown, File)

BADLANDS NATIONAL PARK, S.D. (AP) β€” Bison will have more room to roam in Badlands National Park in southwestern South Dakota.

People are invited to celebrate the expansion of the park’s bison range during a public ceremony on Friday. The Return of the Bison Celebration begins at 11 a.m. at Pinnacles Overlook and will feature a ceremonial fence cutting, a bison release and a grass dance performed by students from American Horse Middle School.

The park will open over 22,000 acres to bison. Thanks to $743,000 in contributions, the park installed 43 miles of new fence along with new cattle guards to expand the bison grazing area to 80,193 acres.

Park officials say the expanded grazing area will contribute to the health and genetic integrity of a herd estimated at 1,200 bison and continued health of the prairie.

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