But now, the acreage has grown to nearly 12,000.
Park Superintendent Donald Beard says, " what we're trying to do is conserve the species that's left in the southern plains. These animals are unique in the fact that they have some genetic markers not found in any other bison in the world. Science says this may be the last of the southern plains herd. "
The park plans to be able to house more than 200 bison in the future.
Beard says at one point there were 30-60 million bison roaming the world, but right before the 19th century that number was down to 500.
However, now they've made quite the comeback.
Beard says, "it's largely in part of private ownership of bison. There are about half a million bison in the world today, which is a pretty big increase from 500 in 1895."
They are amidst a habitat restoration and Beard says they're not only restoring bison, but prairie dogs and pronghorns as well.
He says they are far from their ultimate goal, but they're certainly on their way.
"Our goal is to make this, you drive into our gates and you could be driving back 300 years. The main part of the park is rough and rugged, just like it was 300 years ago. We want you to be able to see what the landscape looked like, what the wildlife looked like.
Beard tells us the park is self funded.
He says they've received a grant from the Turner Foundation as well as help from others, but it's a day by day project, one that he hopes will restore history.
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