A proposal to carve out a 60,000-acre grassland preserve for bison in northeastern Montana has won few backers among the region's cattle ranching community.

The Bureau of Land Management gathered comment Tuesday during a meeting in Havre about the so-called American Prairie Reserve targeted for Phillips County. The preserve consists of private land and property leased from the BLM for grazing and would start with about 100 bison.

A separate federal bison project also drew criticism from ranchers.

Ranchers and some members of the BLM's Central Montana Resource Advisory Committee raised concerns that bison roaming free would spread disease and cede public lands for grazing cattle.

One critic alleged the American Prairie Foundation, the group backing the bison preserve, was in violation of federal grazing laws.

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