CBC News has learned federal Environment Minister Peter Kent is set to announce discussions on re-introducing wild bison to Banff National Park.

The Eleanor Luxton Historical Foundation (ELHF) has been involved in the proposal to bring back the bison to Banff.  

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Bison in Canada's Elk Island National Park. (Courtesy of American Prairie Foundation, Dennis J. Lingohr/AP)

"The process is not just to have them captive and recovering, they need to be part of nature and interacting with nature," said ELHF director Harvey Locke. "That's what Banff park needs."

In the past, bison were contained in a "buffalo paddock" near the old air strip in Banff.

According to the ELHF website, a Banff Bow Valley study in 1996 recognized that the fence around the paddock — combined with the other recent developments in and around Banff — formed a serious impediment to the movement of wildlife.

In 1997, the Banff National Park Management Plan said the buffalo paddock fence and captive herd should be removed but also stated that release of wild bison into the park should be studied.

The idea of re-introducing them was part of the review draft of the 2009 Banff National Park Management Plan.

"I can tell you in Yellowstone they're all over the landscape all the time ... and it's a wonderful thing to see them," said Locke.

Now federal officals have confirmed they are moving ahead with the proposal.