There are two things I’m excited about right now with regards to the preservation and conservation of the Great Plains.
The first is a current National Geographic Channel program called American Serengeti. It highlights the goals of the American Prairie Foundation to which I posted a link in my blog last week. I’ve seen the clip. It looks beautiful, and it’s National Geographic, so you know it’s top notch. Here is the link to information about the show.
The second thing is less current, but no less exciting. It originally dates back to 1987. A Rutgers University professor named Frank Popper, along with his wife Deborah, proposed setting aside large expanses of the Great Plains. They called the project the Buffalo Commons. They were soundly ridiculed in 1987. Since then, the idea has slowly gained traction. There was even an opinion article in November of 2009 in the Kansas City Star advocating for a national park in Western Kansas.
The following is a link to a recent National Parks Traveler article talking about how the notion of the Buffalo Commons is returning. National Parks Traveler did a nice job of recapping both the original 1987 proposal as well as the op-ed piece in their November 15, 2009 post .
Both of these are exciting because they reflect a larger movement that is seeking new ways to think about the Great Plains. Local communities are starting to recognize and embrace the potential for recreation, preservation, and conservation. This is exactly what the Great Plains Trail is all about.