Halfway through a 30-day comment period on a proposal to allow bison more freedom outside Yellowstone National Park, state agencies have extended the comment period.

The Montana Department of Livestock and Fish, Wildlife and Parks granted a request to extend the comment period on the bison proposal by one month. Comments will now be accepted until Sept. 13.

Seven environmental groups - the Defenders of Wildlife, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, National Parks Conservation Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Wildlife Federation, Gallatin Wildlife Association and Sierra Club – sent a letter to the state on Monday requesting the extension.

“It’s the middle of the summer. People are busy or on vacation,” said NRDC spokesman Matt Skogland. “This is important and we wanted to give people more time to comment.”

The environmental assessment, released July 12, would allow bison to stay year-round in certain areas near West Yellowstone, including the Hebgen Basin, the Cabin Creek Recreation and Wildlife Management Unit, the Monument Mountain unit and the upper Gallatin River Corridor.

The draft can be downloaded at http://fwp.mt.gov/news/publicNotices.

Comments will be accepted until 5 p.m. Sept. 13 via email at yearroundbison-ea@mt.gov or they may mailed to Bison Year-round Habitat, Montana FWP, 1400 S. 19th Ave., Bozeman, 59718.


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