The Not So Wild Bison of Pennsylania-South Park Game Preserve

Just a ten-minute drive from my house in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, I could watch huge lumbering beasts munching peacefully on the grass. It is only after, you move away from your hometown, that you realize others places didn’t grow up with some of the wonderful things you took for granted. One of the things for me is the American Bison, also called Buffalo. South Park is a small township and fairly wealthy community close to where I lived that looks cookie-cutter suburban at first but if you look deeper you will find a surprise in the form of a megafauna that came back from the brink of extinction.

Adult Bison at South Park Game Preserve

 The South Park Game Preserve is home to around a dozen Bison fenced-in for both their and our protection. They have lived here since the 1920s. Well, at least their ancestors have, as far as I know, Bison are not immortal like the Highlander. Wild Bison once called western Pennsylvania their home but were extirpated(made locally extinct) in the late 18th century due to overhunting, callous efforts to deprive indigenous people of a key food source, and to a lesser extent destruction of their habitat. The South Park Game Preserve breeds the Bison and sells off members of the herd to avoid overpopulation and to keep them genetically diverse. This ensures the population is healthy and thriving. The preserve was designed as both a place for leisure and conservation.

Two adult Bison eating

The preserve is completely free and anyone can come and wander around the grounds to take a gander of these magnificent beasts. Speaking of gander, there also is a large pond with many residents geese, ducks, and other waterfowl. There are rarely crowds and it feels very low key. Outside of the preserve, in  South Park, there are pools, miles of hiking trails, ice rinks, and a haunted house attraction(I volunteered here once during Halloween). The area is very family-friendly and a nice place to spend a day. If you are a local or visiting the Pittsburgh area, Why don’t you see visit the preserve and its bovine stars, the personification of preserving and overcoming adversity? 

South Park Game Preserve Details

Admission: Free

Hours: 7am-8pm(everyday)

Address:Buffalo Dr, South Park Township, PA 15129, United States

Phone number: +1 412-835-4810

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