Resource October 23, 2020

Behind the Story: A New Kind of National Park

A herd of bison roam on lands owned by the American Prairie Reserve, a sprawling wildlife reserve in northeastern Montana. Image by Nate Hegyi. United States, 2019.

Are the super rich better equipped than the federal government to save America's disappearing...

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In 2004, an ex-Silicon Valley entrepreneur and his nonprofit, American Prairie Reserve, set out on a mission to create a bigger, better Yellowstone. Unlike typical U.S. national parks, this one would be privately funded and free to the public. To accomplish this, American Prairie Reserve has been buying up ranches in East Montana, removing the cows, and replacing them with animals that would have been present in the area centuries ago before white settlers moved in, like wild bison, grizzly bears, wolves, and pronghorn. Nate Hegyi, a Pulitzer Center grantee and reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau, spent two weeks during summer 2019 living out of his truck and talking to all the stakeholders: ranchers, hunters, biologists, conservationists, and residents of the Fort Belknap and Fort Peck Indian Reservations. The end result is a nuanced and character-driven story that explains how conservation is playing out in the American West today. 


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Land Rights

Land Rights