BOZEMAN – The Ivan Doig Center for the Study of the Lands and People of the North American West at Montana State University will host “The Buffalo Commons: A National History, A Regional History, A Family History.” The event will feature an evening with Deborah and Frank Popper, originators of the Buffalo Commons idea March 27, at 6 p.m. in the Museum of the Rockies’ Hager Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public, and a reception will follow.

In 1987, husband and wife Frank and Deborah Popper published a paper in the academic journal Planning that proposed an alternative to what they saw as rural decline in Great Plains states. They suggested replacing economically struggling agriculture with a vast, restored grassland populated by buffalo. The Buffalo Commons they envisioned would encompass ten states, from Montana and North Dakota to Texas and New Mexico, and all states in between. The idea sparked both enthusiasm and denunciation.

Thirty-seven years later, the Poppers are coming to Montana State University to reflect on the Buffalo Commons vision, its modern relevancy, and its consequences for Montanans and themselves.

The Ivan Doig Center fosters the integrated study of the North American West by developing connections throughout the humanities, arts, social sciences and natural sciences.

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