Following are answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Wild Sky and American Prairie Reserve (APR). If you have additional questions please do not hesitate to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is Wild Sky's connection with American Prairie Reserve?
Wild Sky is a program of the nonprofit American Prairie Reserve.
Why work with Ranchers?
When finished, American Prairie Reserve will be surrounded by ranches and at least 500,000 head of cattle. We seek ways to expand the effect of our protected areas into these lands, such that the boundaries between them are indistinguishable to wildlife. A blended edge allows the Reserve to contribute to wildlife population growth on millions of additional acres in the region ⎯ a design that supports long-term viability and landscape connectivity, while also supporting neighboring ranches.
What do you mean by "wildlife-friendly practices?"
Wild Sky's protocols cover a number of areas relating to wildlife conservation -- from the preservation of native prairie, to the protection and prairie dogs, to the installation of wildlife-friendly fencing.
What about human-wildlife conflict?
The National Park system provides a century of inspiration and lessons for a modern day effort like American Prairie Reserve. In conversations with officials from Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Grand Canyon and others, it's clear that a landscape-scale approach is a crucial first step to building a diverse and self-sustaining park. But in setting aside special areas for wildlife and recreation, our national parks have also learned the hard way that it's just as important to anticipate human-wildlife conflict at the edges. For that reason, American Prairie Reserve is already incentivizing our neighbors through Wild Sky and will continue to seek out innovative ways to soften our boundaries to benefit both wildlife and people as we build the nation's next, best park.
Will APR's presence negatively affect the ranching economy?
American Prairie Reserve is committed to working with our ranching neighbors to benefit both the agricultural economy and our wildlife goals. There is no data to indicate that the presence of American Prairie Reserve has had a direct, negative impact on the ranching economy. In fact, reports have shown that there are 441,000 head of cattle in the 7-county area in which the Reserve exists. In Philips county alone, cattle numbers have increased from 80,000 to 86,000 head in the years that American Prairie Reserve has owned land in the county (a 5% increase since 2007).
What else is APR doing to create economic opportunities right now?
Prairies and grasslands need large grazers in order to remain healthy and biodiverse ecosystems. While bison have co-evolved with the native vegetation and wildlife of North America for tens-of-thousands of years to perfectly compliment the ecosystem, domestic cattle, when carefully managed, can serve as a pseudo-proxy for bison. As the organization grows, some properties that are not currently grazed by bison are leased to local cattle ranchers. American Prairie Reserve currently hosts approximately 3,500 cattle from 12 different ranchers, and considers new leases as properties are acquired.
American Prairie Reserve also contributes significantly to the regional economy through its daily operations. As of 2018, the organization’s expenditures in the seven-county region since 2002 total more than $39 million, including land purchases, wages paid to local staff, tourism activities, equipment and supply purchases, payments to local contractors, and real estate taxes.
For frequently asked questions on American Prairie Reserve click here.