Bud Cotton Buffalo Paddock

Buffalo National Park Location: LSD 1-36-44-7-W4M

After the turn of the century, Howard Douglas, Superintendent of Buffalo National Park can be credited with pushing the Dominion government to purchase the largest and one of the last plains bison herds on the continent. In 1907, the government created Buffalo Park on 160 square miles of land adjacent to Wainwright and stocked the area with several hundred head of buffalo purchased from Montana rancher, Michel Pablo. Under protection, the herd grew to such an extent that annual round-ups began in 1922 to reduce the population of the herd. From 1922 until 1939, the herd was rounded up annually and culled and, from 1925-1928, shipped north to Wood Buffalo National Park. In 1923 the Hollywood movie “The Last Frontier” was filmed at Wainwright. The Park Riders were used as stunt men and extras. Buffalo were also shipped to zoos and parks all over the world.

The round-ups continued until 1939 when all the buffalo were removed and the park was turned over to the Department of National Defense (DND) for use as an army training facility. Today the DND maintains the “Bud Cotton Buffalo Paddock” located at the entrance to Camp Wainwright. Opened in 1980 four yearling bison were donated by the Superintendent of Elk Island National Park to commemorate the plains bison saving effort at Buffalo National Park (1909 – 1939). The military base continues to maintain this bison herd housing approximately 20 buffalo as a reminder of the history of the park.