The Harper government has committed $6.4M over the next five years to an initiative that would see the return of plains bison to Banff National Park.

Plains bison haven't roamed the park for nearly 140 years and the project will see a small herd reintroduced to the area.

“Our Government is taking action to protect our rich natural heritage for all Canadians now and in the future. Successfully restoring this keystone species in Banff will allow visitors, neighbours and the public at large to experience an authentic national park experience,” said Blake Richard, Member of Parliament for Wild Rose in a statement on Friday.

“We're going to likely request 30 to 50 mainly young, one to two year old bison and equal sex ratio and that will represent day one of the bison's arrival in Banff,” said Dave Gummer from Parks Canada.

Friday’s funding announcement is part of a $2B National Conservation Plan to update national parks and historic sites across the country.

The bison will be kept in a test paddock at first and will come from a herd that lives on Elk Island National Park.