“This federal legislation will allow Arizona Game and Fish Department and Park Service to apply the best wildlife management practices to manage the bison herd effectively and immediately. Right now, Grand Canyon National Park simply cannot properly manage the unhealthy growth of the herd without this legislative fix.”
Grand Canyon Bison Management Act approved by House committee
GRAND CANYON, Ariz. — The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee recently approved a bipartisan bill that will allow the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) to better manage and conserve the bison population within Grand Canyon National Park, according to the agency.
The committee passed the Grand Canyon Bison Management Act, attaching it as an amendment to the larger Sportsman’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act.
The Bison Management Act, introduced in June by U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), requires the U.S. Department of Interior and the Arizona Game and Fish Commission to coordinate on a plan that would allow sportsmen holding a valid state-issued hunting license to assist in management of the bison population within the park.
The amendment follows the release of a National Park Service (NPS) plan that allows public volunteers to assist in culling an overpopulation of bison on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Wildlife surveys estimate around 600 bison have migrated into the park, where hunting is prohibited and bison are impacting both natural and cultural resources.
Left unclear with the current NPS plan is whether a licensed, skilled volunteer would be allowed to harvest and keep the entire animal. The agency stated previously it was legally prohibited from conveying the harvested animal to a private hunter.
Approval of the Bison Management Act will provide clear legal direction that allows skilled volunteers to keep the entire animal when leaving the park.
“While the National Park Service plan has some components that move in the right direction, it will surely face endless litigation while a bison herd continues growing unabated on the Grand Canyon National Park,” Arizona Game and Fish Commission Chairman Jim Ammons said. “This federal legislation will allow Arizona Game and Fish Department and Park Service to apply the best wildlife management practices to manage the bison herd effectively and immediately. Right now, Grand Canyon National Park simply cannot properly manage the unhealthy growth of the herd without this legislative fix.”
Gosar said the Bison Management Act provides a direct, cost-effective solution that strives to protect Grand Canyon resources.
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