Tag Archives: ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK FOUNDATION

Group Effort Solves Public Access Dispute In Prime Oregon Elk Country

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK FOUNDATION

The public will continue to have access to 43,000 acres of central Oregon’s prime elk country thanks to a group effort including the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Bureau of Land Management, Crook County, Oregon Hunters Association (OHA) and the Waibel Ranches, LLC.

A BLM IMAGE SHOWS THE NEWLY CONSTRUCTED ROAD. (BLM)

“We are pleased that all parties could come together to provide continued access to a part of Oregon revered by elk hunters and others,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “Opening or improving access to our public lands lies at the core of our conservation mission. We hear time and time again from our members how important it is that we carry out this public access work.”

At issue was what was thought to be a public road through private land south of Prineville in the Crooked River drainage that provided access to the southern end of Ochoco National Forest. RMEF provided title work and research that showed continuous public use of the road since the late 1800s.

Waibel Ranches, LLC facilitated the construction of the new road at their own expense and at their own initiative. They did so in order to provide access to the same public lands as a means to reduce the liability, trespass, poaching and littering associated with public travel along the old Teaters Road.

A CLOSED GATE NOW BLOCKS OFF THE OLD TEATERS ROAD. (BLM)

“It’s great to have a partner like RMEF to help find solutions to public land access issues,” said Dennis Teitzel, Prineville BLM district manager.

“This project provides access for hunters and all others that could have been lost without the cooperation and efforts of several organizations. The landowners should be thanked for their willingness to work to solve a problem for the benefit for all,” said Richard Nelson, OHA Bend Chapter past president. “It shows what can be accomplished when all work on a solution instead of locking in to an adversary position.”

Since 1986, RMEF and its partners completed 875 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Oregon with a combined value of more than $57.4 million. These projects protected or enhanced 793,317 acres of habitat and opened or secured public access to 90,073 acres.

Elk, Habitat, Hunters In 16 Washington Counties Benefit From $233K In RMEF Grants

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK FOUNDATION

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded $233,373 in grant funding for nearly two dozen conservation projects in Washington that enhance wildlife habitat, assist research and promote hunting heritage.

FUNDS FROM THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK FOUNDATION WILL HELP TREAT 300 ACRES OF THE OAK CREEK WILDLIFE AREA WITH FIRE. (RMEF)

The grants benefit 4,966 acres across Asotin, Clallam, Chelan, Columbia, Cowlitz, Douglas, Ferry, Garfield, Grant, King, Pierce, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Skamania, Snohomish and Yakima Counties. There are also two projects of statewide benefit.

“Forest management techniques like thinning, prescribed burning and noxious weed treatments improve habitat in Washington for elk and many other species,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “This grant funding will help with those efforts and supply research dollars to benefit elk management.”

Since 1985, RMEF and its partners completed 621 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Washington with a combined value of more than $121.5 million. These projects conserved and enhanced 471,547 acres of habitat and opened or secured public access to 125,245 acres.

Here is a sampling of the 2017 projects, listed by county:

Asotin County—Apply noxious weed treatment across 700 acres on the W. T. Wooten and Chief Joseph Wildlife Areas within the Blue Mountains Wildlife Area Complex to keep weeds in check on year-long elk range (also benefits Garfield and Columbia Counties).

Clallam County—Thin 203 acres of elk summer range in the Upper Sitkum Watershed on the Olympic National Forest where overly dense forests led to documented low body condition scores for elk as well as downward trends in pregnancy rates.

King County—Provide funding to acquire one new GPS collar and refurbish four others for a study to determine if elk are using new habitat areas created by the Snoqualmie Valley Elk Management Group as well as determine a better herd population estimate and seed 50 acres of a newly cleared area in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains.

Yakima County—Apply prescribed fire to 300 acres on the Oak Creek Wildlife Area as part of a larger, wide-scale effort to benefit wildlife by rejuvenating native grasses, forbs and shrubs as well as mitigating wildfire hazards.

Go here for a complete project listing.

Washington project partners include the Colville, Gifford Pinchot and Olympic National Forests, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and private landowners as well as sportsmen, government, civic and other organizations.

Zinke To BLM, USFWS, NPS: Figure Out How To Increase Fishing, Hunting Access

Federal land managers are being directed to figure out how to provide more fishing and hunting access under a directive signed by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke today, a move lauded by sportsmen’s groups.

It follows on troubling news earlier this week that participation in hunting dropped by 2.2 million between 2011 and 2016, but could help open more lands, so key to the opportunities we enjoy.

MANAGERS OF NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGES, BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT GROUND AND THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE ARE BEING ASKED HOW TO INCREASE HUNTING AND FISHING ACCESS UNDER AN ORDER FROM DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR SECRETARY RYAN ZINKE. THAT PROCESS HAS BEEN ONGOING AT PLACES LIKE TURNBULL NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, WHERE SPECIAL HUNTS FOR AN INCREASING ELK HERD HAVE BEEN HELD, BUT ZINKE’S ORDER COULD OPEN EVEN MORE OPPORTUNITY. (TURNBULL NWR)

“The more people we can get outdoors, the better things will be for our public lands,” said Zinke in a press release. “As someone who grew up hunting and fishing on our public lands – packing bologna sandwiches and heading out at 4 a.m. with my dad – I know how important it is to expand access to public lands for future generations. Some of my best memories are hunting deer or reeling in rainbow trout back home in Montana, and I think every American should be able to have that experience.”

His order calls for:

  • The Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service to come up with plans within four months for expanding access to hunting and fishing on their lands;
  • Amend management plans for national monuments to specifically ensure hunting and fishing on them;
  • Identify federal lands where those activities are limited;
  • Expand outreach to underserved communities;
  • Develop a “one-stop” website outlining sporting opportunities on all Department of Interior lands;
  • And improve wildlife management collaboration with states, tribes, conservation groups and others.

Ducks Unlimited was supportive, particularly the part of Zinke’s order calling for “significantly” increasing waterfowl populations through habitat projects, as well as more hunting opportunities.

“Wetlands are not only a valuable resource for our nation’s waterfowl, but they also benefit more than 900 other species of wildlife,” noted Dale Hall, DU CEO, in a press release. “Investments in the conservation of wildlife habitats, like wetlands, are vital in preserving, protecting and advancing our nation’s long hunting and angling heritage. At the end of the day, it’s all about ensuring that all Americans and those generations to come, have access to the wildlife and wild places that we enjoy today.”

In recent years, USFWS has gradually been increasing waterfowl, big game and fishing opportunities on Northwest refuges and those across the country.

Land Tawney of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers said his organization looked forward to working with Zinke and Interior.

“Our hunting and fishing traditions rely on both conservation and access, with insufficient access being the No. 1 reason cited by sportsmen for forgoing time afield,” Tawney said in a press release. “The importance of Secretary Zinke’s commitment to sustaining and expanding public access opportunities to the outdoors, therefore, cannot be overstated.”

Others supporting the move included the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation as well as National Rifle Association.

“For too long, sportsmen’s access to our federal lands has been restricted, with lost opportunity replacing the ability to enjoy many of our best outdoor spaces. This extension to Secretarial Order 3356 will go a long way to reversing that trend and help grow the next generation of hunters, fishermen, and recreational shooters,” added Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, in a press release. “I appreciate this new order and am committed to working with Secretary Zinke and my colleagues to do everything we can to expand and enhance access to our federal lands for all Alaskans, and all Americans, so that we can continue our rich sportsmen’s heritage.”

RMEF Sees Silver Lining In Court’s Great Lakes Wolf Listing Ruling

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK FOUNDATION

Unlike its decision earlier in 2017 upholding efforts to delist wolves in Wyoming, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia chose not to do the same in the Western Great Lakes states.

“We are disappointed with this latest ruling, but the court wholeheartedly rejected a number of claims by environmental groups regarding wolves and wolf management,” said David Allen, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation president and CEO. “The court undid a number of roadblocks thus providing a path forward.”

 

Positive points from the decision:

  • Rejected an environmental group argument that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) did not use the best available science
  • The Endangered Species Act allows the FWS to delist a distinct wolf population segment
  • Supported FWS’s reliance on state management of wolves and other wildlife in the Western Great Lakes states
  • Upheld the FWS’s determination that disease and human mortality do not pose a significant threat to the wolf population
  • There is no permanent barrier to delisting wolves

“This latest ruling came six years after the FWS tried for a third time to delist wolves in the Great Lakes. We call on Congress to approve and pass a legislative fix to halt this non-stop litigation that frustrates successful wildlife management,” said Allen. “These environmental groups continue to use the wolf as a fundraising tool while overlooking and ignoring each state’s approved wildlife management plans.”

As of 2015-16, there is an estimated minimum population of 3,762 wolves in the Great Lakes states. Minnesota’s wolf population is approximately one and a half times above objective. Michigan’s wolf population is more than 200 percent above its state plan and Wisconsin’s wolf population is more than 250 percent above objective.

RMEF recognizes that predators have a proper place on the landscape but that they need to be managed just as elk, deer and other wildlife are managed in accordance with the North American Wildlife Conservation Model.

RMEF’s Allen Responds To East Coast Professor’s Talk Of Privatizing Public Lands

THE FOLLOWING IS A ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK FOUNDATION

In light of continuing chatter and rhetoric aimed at privatizing federal public lands, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation continues to advocate its support for keeping public lands in the hands of America’s citizens.

“The 640 million acres of public land across the United States play a highly significant role in our wildlife system,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Without them, our management system, which is the most successful in the world, would crumble and the health of our wildlife populations would deteriorate.”

ELK COUNTRY ON THE BACKSIDE OF MT. RAINIER, IN THE WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS WILDERNESS. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Allen publicly challenged Steve Hanke, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, who called on the government to sell public lands to private ownership in a recent issue of Forbes magazine.

“We cannot afford to play games here. What we need is a focused, pro-active land management approach for our public land assets in this country. RMEF will not waiver on supporting public lands but we are seeking better habitat management and the resources to make that happen,” said Allen.

Allen highlighted a recent elk migratory study by Dr. Arthur Middleton that shows how critical public lands are to the survival of elk in the Greater Yellowstone region.

“We have to manage our public lands with more of a focus on wildlife,” added Allen.

RMEF maintains its decades-long position that public lands must remain public and that such land needs to be managed for the benefit of wildlife and public access but especially for the overall health of forests, grassland and waterways.

Since 1984, RMEF and its partners completed nearly 11,000 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects with a combined value of more than $1 billion. These projects conserved or enhanced more than 7.1 million acres of wildlife habitat.

RMEF, Conservation Speaker Release ‘Relevance,’ Optimistic Film On Future Of Hunting

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK FOUNDATION

In an effort to promote a wider public conversation about the positive connections between hunting and wildlife conservation, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation partnered with widely-respected conservationist and wildlife researcher Shane Mahoney to release a timely and evocative short film titled Relevance.

SHAWN MAHONEY. (VIA RMEF)

The video, which discusses the modern relevance of hunting traditions, especially in terms of conservation benefits, is the first product generated as part of a new and ongoing collaboration between RMEF and Mahoney.

“Shane is one of the world’s leading voices for conservation,” said Steve Decker, RMEF’s vice president of Marketing. “His message about hunting’s role in society showcases the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, certainly one of the most successful systems of wildlife recovery and management the world has ever seen. Shane’s message resonates not only among sportsmen and women, but also with those who do not hunt or fish but who share in the concern for wildlife’s future.”

The film’s narrative is borrowed from Mahoney’s keynote address, delivered at RMEF’s 2017 National Convention earlier this year in Nashville.

Mahoney, a long-time RMEF member, is the president and CEO of Conservation Visions, a global wildlife initiative focused on international conservation issues.

“Hunting is sometimes incorrectly viewed as a self-indulgent and wasteful anachronism in modern society,” says Mahoney. “However, we know, from an objective perspective, that sustainable use of wildlife can be an effective tool in support of conservation and human livelihoods; it is connected to the conservation of wild lands and waters, the environment, and our own food security.”

In 2015, Mahoney launched the Wild Harvest Initiative, a multi-year research and communication effort supported by RMEF and a diverse partnership of individuals, business interests, conservation NGOs and government agencies. The project’s mission is to provide a first-ever evaluation of the biomass and economic value of wild food harvested by recreational hunters and anglers in Canada and the United States and to assess the wider community of consumers who share in this harvest. By conjoining these insights with existing economic assessments of recreational hunting and angling, and by evaluating the costs and mechanisms that might be considered necessary to replace this wild food harvest, the Wild Harvest Initiative will help focus a wider question facing conservation policy institutions in both countries; namely, if hunting and angling were to cease tomorrow, what would be the consequences?

RMEF and Mahoney will work together on future projects as part of RMEF’s ongoing #HuntingIsConservation campaign, which has reached more than 30 million people since its launch in January 2016.

RMEF Grants To Benefit Habitat, Elk Research In 14 Counties

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK FOUNDATION

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded $269,750 in grant funding to assist with habitat stewardship projects and elk research in the state of Oregon.

The grants benefit 9,106 acres across Baker, Crook, Douglas, Grant, Klamath, Lake, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Morrow, Tillamook, Union, Wallowa and Yamhill Counties.

NEARLY $270,000 IN GRANTS FROM THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK FOUNDATION WILL BENEFIT OVER 9,100 ACRES IN 14 OREGON COUNTIES. (RMEF)

“The Starkey Experimental Forest and Range offers a unique opportunity to study elk behavior, nutrition, population densities, habitat conditions and other elements that can benefit at-large elk populations,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “Additional grant funding will enhance elk habitat through a variety of hands-on stewardship work across Oregon.”

Since 1986, RMEF and its partners completed 856 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Oregon with a combined value of more than $56.9 million. These projects conserved or enhanced 792,276 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 90,703 acres.

Volunteers in Oregon raised the funding by hosting chapter banquets, membership drives and other events.

Here is a sampling of the 2017 projects, listed by county:

Grant County—Provide funding to place radio collars on five elk on the Phillip W. Schneider Wildlife Area so researchers can better understand elk migration from winter to summer range in order to guide future collaring projects and management decisions including harvest timing and allocation.

Lane County—Enhance 299 acres of Roosevelt elk habitat on the Willamette National Forest through a combination of prescribed burning and noxious weed treatment followed by mulching, inoculation with fungi, seeding and planting burned and sprayed areas, and installation of three wildlife water guzzlers.

Union County—Thin 820 acres from the Starkey Wildlife Management Unit on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest to create a mosaic of cover and open area to increase forage quantity and quality as a benefit to elk habitat, increase forest resiliency to insect outbreaks and fire, and help restore ecological functions within the watershed (also benefits Baker County); and provide funding for research at the Starkey Experimental Forest and Range to determine if elk population performance increases at lower densities which will assist managers to more effectively set population management objectives in order to maximize population performance, hunter opportunity and increase understanding of the nutritional and habitat requirements of mule deer.

Go here for a complete project listing.

Oregon project partners include the Deschutes, Fremont, Malheur, Ochoco, Siuslaw, Umatilla, Wallowa-Whitman, and Willamette National Forests, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and private landowners as well as sportsmen, government, civic and other organizations.