Aiming to establish a balance between predators and prey in Soapstone Prairie, the Larimer County Board of Commissioners by unanimity voted to re-introduce natural predators to the newly-established bison herd of the City of Fort Collins-run open space. After considering a series of options, it seemed that our board of commissioners was partial to the wolf, a high-food chain canine predator whose re-introduction to Yellowstone National Park some three decades ago proved a resounding success, but after cursory discussion, consensus turned to the American Indian.
The establishment of a pre-white settlement ecosystem in Larimer County dates back to 2008 when Latimer County and the City of Fort Collins established Soapstone Prairie and Red Mountain Open Space respectively. In 2015, Larimer County Open Spaces re-introduced the North American Bison to a part of Soapstone Prairie. But what was supposed to be a sustainable herd of bison has ballooned into a problematic headache to the Larimer County Board of Commissioners. “When the bison herd had its first calf, we rejoiced and the news even reached the [newspaper the Fort Collins] Coloradoan. Now it seems that every month they pop out another calf! Things are getting out of control here.” Larimer County Commissioner Steve Johnson said. “Wolves are simply not enough to keep the population in check. After watching a History Channel documentary we are quite well-informed on the interaction between the animal and the Indians that lived here long ago. It seems the animal provided all manner of items that the people needed: shoes, meat, material to make rugs; the Walmart of its time. Then, I watched a PBS show about the Sand Creek Massacre, and we thought, ‘what better way to make up for that wrong than this?’ We could not pass up the opportunity” He went on to say, “Wen we considered the interests of nearby residents and ranchers, who would be seriously and adversely affected by wolves, we just thought that bringing a band of Indians in would do the trick. Now, I want to go home to watch Game of Thrones.”
In an interview with the Focopolitan Tribune, American Indian spokesman Yawning Coyote Pratt commented, “What the fuck am I doing here? How in the hell am I supposed to feed my family with this lousy-ass bow-and arrow? At least give me a hunting rifle!” Asked about the Board of Commissioners’ decision to reintroduce him and his family to Soapstone Prairie, Yawning Coyote protested, “I’m Navajo! Our people never even hunted buffalo! Gaiter, how would you like it if I gave you this bow-and-arrow and sent your black ass back to Africa? And you, Donnelly: Go get some potato seeds and see if you can make it after I drop you off in some armpit of Ireland! Take me back to Arizona, I’ve got a casino to run!”
Larimer County Senior Naturalists will track the progress of the Indian population and its adaptation to the Soapstone Prairie ecosystem. Viewing of both the American Indian and the bison herd is accessible to the public and can be done at the viewing zone at the entrance of the Natural Area.