Buffalo Continue to Roam During Colorado State University’s 23rd American West Program

The near extinction of buffalo and the importance of the animal to modern society will be discussed by a retired National Park Service administrator during the July 11 meeting of the American West Program at Colorado State University.

Harold Danz, who now is executive director of the American Bison Association in Denver, will present a brief history of the bison and discuss its former position of eminence and its decline in population during the 1800s. Danz also will discuss how humans currently use bison and the different bison products available to consumers.

"From the bison’s nadir point, some rather colorful individuals in the early 1900s took and interest in this remarkable animal and, armed with only vague marketing plans, began to collect and breed bison," Danz said. "Public bison herds, except for a few Plains specimens exhibited at Washington’s National Zoological Park, were limited to those in Yellowstone National Park, so if the species were to survive, it was essential for the privately owned bison herds to prosper and grow."

From a low of about 1,000 bison in the world in 1887, the population rose to about 25,000 in 1970 and about 300,000 today, Danz said.

As a Park Service administrator, Danz’s responsibilities included administration and management of park and public recreation areas within the National Park System. He received a master of arts at the University of Northern Colorado in 1981 and a doctorate from the University of Colorado in 1992.

In conjunction with the American West Program, the Curfman Gallery in the Lory Student Center is presenting "Images of the West" by artist Bob Coonts. Call 491-6444 for gallery and student center hours. Following is a schedule of events for the American West Program. All talks begin at 7:30 p.m. in Room C146 Plant Sciences Building and are free and open to the public.

For more information, call Harry Rosenberg , program coordinator, at 491-5230.

July 11 – "The Return of the American Bison," Harold Danz, retired National Park Service administrator and executive director of the American Bison Association.

July 18 – "When I was a boy, I wanted to be like Buffalo Bill: Now that I’m older, I still want to be Buffalo Bill," Tom Morrison, superintendent of Buffalo Bill Ranch Historical Park, North Platte, Neb.

July 25 – "The Importance of the Buffalo in Plains Indian Religion and Culture," JoAllyn Archambault, member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and director of the American Indian Program at the National Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian Institution.