Yellowstone’s Lamar Buffalo Ranch

Bison herd with calves in Lamar Valley; Neal Herbert/Yellowstone National Park

The Lamar Valley in Yellowstone is home to the Lamar Buffalo Ranch.  The ranch was established in 1907 when 28 bison were moved there from Fort Yellowstone.  The purpose was to help preserve one of the last free-roaming bison herds in the United States.

The Buffalo Ranch was engaged in bison ranching into the 1950’s but as the herd increased in size it was released to the open range where it interbred with the wild herd.  Hay produced on the ranch was used to feed the bison in the winter until the 1950’s when the Park Service adopted a wildlife management policy that was geared towards interfering as little as possible with the natural ecology in the park.

The historic district of the ranch has five buildings which were built between 1915 and the 1930’s. These include a ranger station which was built in 1915, the bunkhouse which was built in 1925 and a residence which was moved from Soda Butte in 1938.  There is also a barn and corral.  The barn was constructed in 1927.  The bunkhouse has been remodeled and is now used by the Yellowstone Association to conduct classes and seminars.

Lamar Buffalo Ranch horse corrals; Neal Herbert/Yellowstone National Park

The campus for the Yellowstone Forever Institute is located on the Lamar Buffalo Ranch.  Accommodations there include log guest cabins, a heated bathhouse with showers and restrooms, as well as a common building which houses classrooms and a kitchen.

Students who enroll in courses with the Yellowstone Association share space in the log cabins which each have three single beds, a propane heater and reading lights.  They do not, however, have electrical outlets or plumbing.  It is necessary for students to bring a sleeping bag and a pillow and they must be prepared to fix their own meals in the fully equipped kitchen.  The fee when I checked was $30 per night per person and early reservations are advised.  It would be prudent for you to double check the fees as they may have changed.

For further information on the Ranch or Yellowstone Forever and their courses please visit the website for Yellowstone Forever.


Photos courtesy of Yellowstone National Park.