What: Buffalo Herd Overlook
Where: I-70, exit 254 (Genesee Park), just west of metro-Denver
When: Whenever the herd hangs around the viewing areas
Perhaps we should start with the fact that the highway signs should read â€œBison Herd Overlook.â€ And we need to change the lyrics to Home on the Range (â€œOh give me a home where the Bison roamâ€¦â€) while weâ€™re at it. As youâ€™ll learn from an informational sign by a meadow where these big creatures often graze, â€œbuffalosâ€ are found in Africa and Asia; the North American Bison is the animal that roamed the American West in the millions until they were nearly wiped out in the late 1800s.
The herd youâ€™ll (hopefully) see at this exit belong to the City and County of Denver, and are descendents of 7 of the remaining wild animals found in Yellowstone National Park in 1914. The city also brought 23 elk to this newly-created Denver Mountain Park.
Donâ€™t be tempted to stick an arm through the fence to try to entice one of these giants to come closer or to pet it; bison are temperamental animals, and can be quite dangerous. Keep your distance.
Speaking of Bison, did you knowâ€¦
|They weigh close to 2,000 pounds â€“ and some males may top that weight.|
|A bison can outrun a Quarter horse in its favorite race length of Â¼ mile (although it seems more likely that the bison would simply gore the quarter horse rather than race it).|
|They can jump a 6 foot fence from a standing position, or an 8 foot fence on the run. This helps explain the tall fence separating people from bison.|
By the way, be sure to check the large meadows on both sides of the Interstate for bison; they are able to pass under I-70 through a tunnel created to join the two parts of their pasture that were divided when the highway was built.
For more information, contact:
Denver Parks and Recreation Department
201 W. Colfax Ave., Dept. 108
Denver, CO 80202