Bison will continue to roam Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado under a plan approved by the National Park Service, but initially the number within the park will shrink.
The plan, which also outlines how elk within Great Sand Dunes are to be managed, gained final approval Monday. Under it, the bison currently part of The Nature Conservancy's Zapata Ranch adjacent to Great Sand Dunes will be removed from the park over the next 5-7 years. During that period, the herd will be culled. While the ranch herd currently numbers about 1,700, most, if not all, of those bison carry cattle genes. Since the Park Service wants genetically pure bison herds, it will restock the park with animals from Interior Department herds, starting out with 25-50.