Tag Archives: Conservation

RMEF Celebrates 35th Year Of Elk, Wildlife Conservation Work


Thirty-five years after its founding on May 14, 1984, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) is celebrating decades of conservation success.


“Quite simply, the growth and accomplishments of this organization are staggering,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “It began with four elk hunters in northwest Montana who struggled as they opened shop in a doublewide trailer, but did so with determination and a vision to ensure the future of elk and elk country. And here we are 35 years later with 235,000 members and a mission that continues to gain more and more momentum for the benefit of elk, other wildlife, conservation and hunting.”

To date, RMEF and its partners completed nearly 12,000 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects with a combined value of more than $1.1 billion. Those projects protected or enhanced more than 7.4 million acres of wildlife habitat and opened or improved access to more than 1.2 million acres.

RMEF facts:

  • Protected or enhanced nearly one square mile of habitat every day since its founding in 1984
  • 7.4 million acres protected/enhanced = roughly three and one half times the size of Yellowstone National Park
  • 1.2 million acres opened/improved public access = roughly two and one half times the size of Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Assisted with successful restoration of elk in Kentucky (estimated 2019 population of 11,000+), Missouri (150), North Carolina (150), Tennessee (500), Virginia (200), West Virginia (120), Wisconsin (280) and Ontario, Canada (650-1,000)
  • Ten consecutive years of record membership growth
  • 12,000 volunteers across 500+ chapters
  • Advocated for public access to public lands, reauthorization of Land and Water Conservation Fund, wolf & grizzly delisting, forest management reform, other conservation issues

“We cannot thank all of our volunteers, members, sponsors, donors and partners enough for the past 35 years of conservation success,” said Weaver. “We honor that incredible legacy by pledging to do more to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage in the years to come.”

WDFW’s Susewind To Hold Another Digital Open House May 13


Kelly Susewind, director of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), will host a virtual open house on Monday, May 13 to give the public a chance to ask about the department’s policies and direction.


“I want to share some updates on the agency, but the main purpose is to have a two-way conversations with those who aren’t always able to attend our in-person events,” said Susewind. “People care deeply about the work we do and we want to make it easier for them to tell us what’s on their mind and what’s important to them in their everyday live.”

Introductory topics will include an overview of the department’s work, a summary of legislative session actions that affect WDFW, and how the department is working to address long-term challenges affecting fish and wildlife in Washington.

Director Susewind will also be joined by a number of his staff who share wildlife, fish, law enforcement, and habitat expertise.

The online webinar starts at 7 p.m. The public can go to https://player.invintus.com/?clientID=2836755451&eventID=2019051001 during the event to watch and submit questions. After the event the open house video will remain available from the agency’s website, wdfw.wa.gov.

WDFW’s 2017 ‘Citizen Awards’ honor innovation and long-standing commitment

The following is a press release from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

May 16, 2017
Contact: Jason Wettstein (360) 902-2254

WDFW’s 2017 ‘Citizen Awards’ honor
innovation and long-standing commitment


Jarrod Kirkley of River Junky with Dir Jim Unsworth and Joe Stohr behind podium

OLYMPIA – One organization fulfilled the hunting and fishing dreams of youth with severe disabilities, while another matched volunteers with manufacturers to clean rivers around the state. A third demonstrated sustained commitment to conservation and rural livelihoods in central Washington for nearly 75 years.


The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) recognized the contributions of these and other top volunteers during its 2017 citizen awards ceremony today in Olympia.

Greg Volkhardt (left) Jim Unsworth (Center) Bryan King (right)

Youth Outdoors Unlimited (Y.O.U) (http://www.youthoutdoorsu.org) of Moses Lake took home an Organization of the Year award for its work assisting young people with disabilities. Supported by the efforts and donations of anglers, hunters and other outdoorspeople, the organization arranges for all-expenses-paid adventures for young people and their families, including adaptive equipment, travel, food, and lodging.


“Youth Outdoors Unlimited makes hunting and fishing wishes come true for young people with serious illnesses and disabilities,” said Dolores Noyes, ADA program manager with WDFW. “This organization teaches youth with disabilities how they can access their recreational dreams using specialized equipment to accommodate their specific physical needs.”

YOU Jim Unsworth Joe Carpenter Nathan Jonson (back) then Faith Torgerson, then Mikey Williamson then Zach heckinger and Cindy Carpenter

Kittitas County Conservation District (http://www.kccd.net) also took home an Organization of the Year award for its 15-year-long effort to expand fish habitat in Manastash Creek, as well as its 75-year-long history of working for conservation and rural livelihoods.

Loren and Norma Holthaus with Director Jim Unsworth

“Kittitas County Conservation District has been a bulwark of support for fish, wildlife and landowners,” said Mike Livingston, WDFW regional director for southcentral Washington. “This organization has played an important role in many of the noteworthy accomplishments in conserving natural resources on private lands in that county.”

River Junky (http://riverjunky.us), a nonprofit organization founded in 2016, was named Volunteer of the Year for connecting fishing gear manufacturers with volunteers to clean up trash at popular water access sites and in state rivers such as the Kalama, Skykomish, Puyallup, Blue Creek Cowlitz, and Sandy River.

“River Junky is bringing people together to clean up our rivers — and making it fun,” said Chris Conklin, an assistant program manager with the department. “Offering promotions, gifts and prizes, the organization and its volunteers are providing a new way to maintain the quality of the outdoor experiences we all enjoy.”

Director Jim Unsworth center, with Sherry Swanson on left and Anna Lael on right, of Kittitas County Conservation District

WDFW also recognized Educators of the Year, Loren and Norma Holthaus for teaching hunter education for more than 30 years in Washington. Together, they taught more than half of the hunter education classes in Okanogan County last year, certifying 108 new hunters. “The Holthaus’s efforts have meant better classes, better training for instructors, and a solid foundation for a new generation of hunters in Washington,” said Chuck Ray, a hunter education coordinator for northcentral Washington.


Other citizen awards announced by WDFW include the following:

Cathy Lynch with Director Jim Unsworth



  • Terry Hoffer Memorial Firearm Safety Award: Cathy Lynch received the Terry Hoffer award for her exceptional contributions as a hunter education instructor. Lynch certified 14 new volunteer hunter education instructors and some 500 students—more than 15 percent of the students in the North Puget Sound region in 2016.

    “Cathy is incredibly effective at finding ways to improve the team’s teaching methods,” said Steve Dazey, a hunter education and volunteer coordinator with WDFW. “She always goes above and beyond, is there when we most need her, and she takes the extra time to ensure young students get the most out of the courses.”

    The award honors Wildlife Agent Terry Hoffer, who was fatally wounded by a hunter accidentally discharging his firearm in 1984.


  • Landowner of the Year: The Green River Watershed staff of Tacoma Water (https://www.mytpu.org/tacomawater) took home a Landowner of the Year award for their work over the past 30 years with WDFW and the Muckleshoot Tribe to manage, maintain and improve opportunities for deer and elk hunting.

    “Tacoma Water staff such as Bryan King and Greg Volkhardt have helped provide distinctive hunting opportunities for decades,” said Russ Link, wildlife program manager for WDFW’s North Puget Sound region. “These two, among others, deserve recognition for their tireless work to support conservation and hunting in one of Washington’s most populated districts.”

Citizen volunteers around the state logged nearly 60,000 hours on WDFW projects in 2016. WDFW welcomes volunteer help to benefit fish, wildlife and habitat. For more information, visit the agency volunteer page at http://wdfw.wa.gov/about/volunteer/.

Grant PUD offers free, outdoor recreation opportunities along the Columbia

New boat launch at Crescent Bar, with limited parking, opens May 26

Local residents and visitors will have a number of outdoor opportunities along the Columbia River this summer recreation season.

Grant PUD operates 19 recreation sites on or near the Columbia River. Recreation sites with boat launches include the Priest Rapids Recreation Area, Buckshot, Huntzinger, Wanapum Dam Lower, Wanapum Dam Upper, Vantage, Frenchman Coulee and Apricot Orchards. The new Chinook Park boat launch located off-island at Crescent Bar, will open to the public on May 26. Fuel will also be available at the Chinook Park boat launch when it opens.

Boaters should be mindful that, because of on-going construction in the Crescent Bar area, parking is limited at the Chinook Park boat launch. Those with off-site parking are encouraged to use that option.

The two-lane launch and boat dock is the first of several new and enhanced amenities that will be free and open to the general public visiting the Crescent Bar Recreation area. The new RV campground and other facilities, including parks, beaches and walking trails, are expected to open by late June to early July following several months of construction. The golf course is also now open throughout the season.

Grant PUD’s recreation sites offer day-use visitors free, family-friendly fun in the sun and are one of the many ways Grant PUD powers our local way of life. During the Memorial Day weekend, overnight camping, which requires a fee, will also available at four campgrounds: Priest Rapids Recreation Area, Sand Hollow, Rocky Coulee and Jackson Creek Fish Camp.  For information about Grant PUD’s recreation options, visit http://grantpud.org/recreation.


Grant PUD wants everyone to enjoy a safe time along the river by following these safety guidelines:

  • Water released from the dams can create hazardous boating conditions. Sudden water level fluctuations can impact the shoreline. Make sure your boat stays wet and anchor well off shore.
  • Safety barriers located above both Wanapum and Priest Rapids dams are there to keep everyone safe. Do not go beyond the safety barriers under any circumstances. If someone gets in trouble and goes beyond the barriers, call 911 immediately.
  • Check the weather forecast before starting out. Watch for any wave, wind and cloud changes that signal bad weather is heading your way.
  • Make sure water and weather conditions are safe before entering the water. Cold water reduces body heat 25 times faster than air at the same temperature. The Columbia River can be cold enough to cause serious harm. Wearing a life jacket increases your survival time.
  • There are no lifeguards on duty at our recreation sites. Please be careful.

Photo credit: Grant PUD

Established by local residents over 75 years ago, Grant PUD generates and delivers energy to millions of customers throughout the Pacific Northwest. What began as a grassroots movement of public power has evolved into one of the premiere providers of renewable energy at some of the most affordable rates in the nation. For more information visitwww.grantpud.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Final work is underway for the Chinook Park boat launch, parking lot and day-use moorage at Crescent Bar. The facility is expect to open on May 26.

RMEF Celebrates 33rd Anniversary

RMEF Celebrates 33rd Anniversary

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is commemorating 33 years of carrying out its conservation mission to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

“We are deeply indebted to and grateful for men and women who had the foresight, energy and perseverance to establish this organization for the benefit of elk and elk country,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “They sacrificed much for a big game mammal that today is the thriving majestic symbol of our nation’s wild country.”

Founded on May 14, 1984, by four elk hunters in northwest Montana, RMEF began operations in a modest trailer in the middle of a field. At that time, there were approximately 550,000 elk in North America. Today, there are more than one million elk from coast-to-coast.

As of December 31, 12016, RMEF and its partners carried out 10,469 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects that conserved or enhanced 7,111,358 acres. It also opened or secured access to 1,105,667 acres. Additionally, RMEF assisted with successful elk reintroductions in seven states and one Canadian province.

RMEF now has more than 222,000 thousand members and more than 500 chapters across the United States.

“We appreciate our volunteers, members and partners as well as sportsmen and women who support the RMEF. It is because of them that we are able to accelerate our mission across elk country,” added Allen.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 222,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.1 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at www.rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.
Take action: join and/or donate.