The American bison once roamed North America in vast herds—some estimates put the population at some 60,000,000 animals—before succumbing to overhunting and the ravages of American westward expansion during the 19th century. By the mid-1880s, these majestic animals were approaching extinction.

Fortunately, conservation efforts were underway by 1900, beginning the buffalo’s long march back from the brink. Although most American bison are raised in captivity today, there is still one large, continually wild herd in America: the bison of Yellowstone National Park. This group of more than 3,000 animals roams freely, spending summers in the green upper elevations, and, when winter arrives, moving downslope to find available grazing land. This often results in encroachment on land that has been leased by cattle ranchers, who seek to eliminate contact between their cattle and the wild bison herd because it is thought by some that bison can transmit brucellosis—a disease that can cause stillbirth—to cattle.

The National Wildlife Federation (nwf-wcr.org) has helped minimize these conflicts since 2002 by retiring grazing allotments totaling nearly 600,000 acres. Now the NWF has turned its attention to the 7,200-acre Slip and Slide retirement, which has been a significant source of seasonal grazing conflict along the northern border of the national park for more than a decade. Once this retirement has been purchased, the bison herd­—along with other wild animals, including elk, mule deer, grizzly bears, and wolves—of Yellowstone will be free to roam outside the park bounds in the Gardiner Basin in the winter months.

As part of our global commitment to protect nature, The Orvis Company has partnered with NWF and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition in a matching funds grant with a total goal of $60,000 toward the cost of the Slip and Slide retirement. Your contribution will be matched by Orvis—dollar for dollar, up to $30,000—doubling your donation to help the Yellowstone bison find safe winter forage. Your $100 contribution becomes $200!

You can help. To help the bison of Yellowstone National Park find safe winter grazing land, please send your check to the National Wildlife Federation, c/o The Orvis Company, 178 Conservation Way, Sunderland, VT 05250 or donate online.
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