A test group of 25 bison will be herded out of Yellowstone National Park north into the Gardiner Basin Wednesday morning. The bison drive is a part of the Interagency Bison Management Plan that is designed to test whether the bison can leave the park without threatening domestic livestock with the disease brucellosis.

Goals of IBMP:

"In 2000, the state and federal agencies got together and put together a plan on how to move forward. It's really designed to do two things: it's to manage the risk of transmision of brucellosis from bison to domestic livestock, and it's to conserve the wild bison population that's here in the Yellowstone area."

Yellowstone Spokesman Al Nash says all 25 bison have been tested and do not have brucellosis. This is an experiment, says Nash, to see if the bison will winter in the Gallatin National Forest area. The bison have been gathered at the Stephens Creek holding facility.

Bison drive:

"But about mid-morning, the facility is going to open up, and an interagency group of riders will be there and they're going to be encouraging those bison to move north onto this landscape, and our hope is that they'll be carefully moved onto this land several miles north of the park boundary onto the forest, that the animals then will stay on that area until spring."

Mr. Nash says the Gardiner Basin is geographically isolated and narrows to Yankee Jim Canyon. If all goes well, there are plans to increase the number to 50 bison, and then 100, with the possibility of relaxing controls for brucellosis in the bison.

Web site to view plan:

"You know, we have a lot of information on the bison management and our interagency effort. It's real easy to find; it's I-B-M-P-dot-info, on the Web."