THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK FOUNDATION
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation permanently protected 158 acres of prime elk habitat in the heart of Oregon’s Wallowa Mountains. The transaction also improves access for hunters and others to approximately 520 acres of adjacent public land.
“We appreciate our partners at the U.S. Forest Service and Oregon Department of State Lands for working with us to make this happen,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO.
The Bear Creek property was an inholding of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest but is now in public hands and under the forest’s management.
“This is a relatively small but extremely important parcel to conserve because it’s on the edge of elk winter range and also serves as both transitional and summer range in an area with more than 2,000 elk,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “Additionally, it provides habitat for mule and whitetail deer, black bears, mountain lions and a variety of small mammal and bird species.”
The property is located in the northeast part of Oregon just east of the 360,000-acre Eagle Cap Wilderness, a popular destination for hunting, fishing, hiking, horseback riding and other forms of recreation.
It is also about 30 miles from two other RMEF projects that permanently protect more than 1,100 acres of wildlife habitat. One of the projects, completed in 2017, improved public access to more than 23,000 acres of adjacent public land.