Caprock Canyon Bison Once Again Roaming Free
September 19, 2011 – Plainview Daily Herald
QUITAQUE – A consistent convoy of vehicles crowded the roadways of Caprock Canyons State Park on Saturday afternoon to view something that’s not been seen in the region since famed cattleman Charles Goodnight operated the J.A. Ranch more than 120 years ago: free-roaming bison.
As part of a restoration master plan to return portions of the canyon escarpment to its original grassland ecosystem, 74 head of Southern Plains Bison, coined the Official Texas State Bison Herd, were released from captive pens inside the park, into a 700-acre prairie grassland that stretches from the park entry road, to the visitor center, to Lake Theo. To commemorate the bison release, the park hosted a day-long celebration on Saturday of historic and interpretive programs, bison burger lunch, trail rides and free park entry, all of which began with a program of speakers and a unique “ribbon cutting.”
Rather than traditional ribbon, authentic barbed wire taken from Goodnight’s ranch site was ceremoniously cut. The morning’s presenters included Andy Wilkinson, artist in residence at Texas Tech University’s Southwest Collections and a descendant of Goodnight, who performed his original song, “A Prairie Without A Buffalo.” Comanche Nation Chairman Johnny Wauqua also attended the celebration.
Bison Up Close
You can now drive through the Goodnight Bison Herd in Quitaque at Caprock Canyons State Park.