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Partnering To Restore Buffalo to Tribal Lands

Since 2021, the Jackson Hole Land Trust has been actively partnering with the Wind River Tribal Buffalo Initiative (WRTBI) to support the return of buffalo to Tribal lands. WRTBI is a new, Tribally led 501(c)3 organization dedicated to land rematriation, community revitalization, and youth education through of conservation buffalo.

Until 125 years ago, wild buffalo roamed what is now the Wind River Reservation. Before buffalo were extirpated, they were a keystone species for the ecosystem, critical to the health, prosperity, and culture of the Indigenous peoples in the area.

WRTBI envisions thousands of buffalo on tens of thousands of acres, protected under Tribal law as wildlife, and the Jackson Hole Land Trust supports this vision.

Jason Baldes, the founder of the Wind River Tribal Buffalo Initiative, reminds us, “Land rematriation is restoring keystone species and land ownership to Tribes. Much of what was brought here was patriarchal. The culture of Buffalo has been matriarchal. Rematriation is giving back to Mother Earth, bringing back a holistic connection, and empowering the role of women.”

The Jackson Hole Land Trust is actively fundraising to help WRTBI purchase 440 acres adjacent to existing project lands. The JHLT and WRTBI will partner on the long-term conservation of the parcel, which has significant value as critical riparian and bison habitat. The purchase will allow WRTBI to expand the existing buffalo herd and connect existing grazing to larger Tribally owned allotments.

For more information and to pledge your support, please contact JHLT President Max Ludington at (307) 733-4707 or