THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK FOUNDATION
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation recently surpassed more than eight million acres of lifetime conservation work over its 36-year history.
“This is a noteworthy landmark and one worth celebrating, yet what we’re really talking about is significant, measureable on the ground conservation accomplishment that permanently protects or enhances wildlife habitat across elk country and benefits a majestic and iconic species,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “The trickle down effects also positively impact countless game and non-game species alike, improve public access and benefit our hunting tradition.”
RMEF crossed the 8 million-acre threshold after making a $50,000 donation for a 2,892-acre conservation easement in the Pine Ridge region of northwest Nebraska, an area that provides prime habitat for elk, bighorn sheep and other wildlife in addition to important riparian habitat connected to numerous springs, a creek and the White River.
Despite the unique challenges of carrying out meaningful conservation work during the 2020 pandemic, RMEF so far closed 21 land protection projects in 10 different states. RMEF also collaborated with partners to dole out millions of dollars in grants for forest thinning, prescribed burns, invasive weed treatments, the establishment of wildlife water sources and other habitat enhancement and hunting heritage projects as well as elk-related scientific research.
“This milestone would not be possible without the support of our volunteers, members, partners and sportsmen and women,” added Weaver. “No matter where you are on any one of these eight million acres, there’s a good chance you will catch a whiff of the unmistakable scent of elk. Because every foot of land we protected, enhanced or opened to public access is elk habitat. And going forward, we have much more to do.”
Editor’s note: While the following information came out earlier this year, it shows that a very significant portion of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s 8 million acres of conservation work are in the Northwest states:
Idaho: Since 1985, RMEF and its partners completed 605 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Idaho with a combined value of more than $83.5 million. These projects protected or enhanced 558,332 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 28,509 acres.
Oregon: Since 1986, RMEF and its partners completed 963 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Oregon with a combined value of more than $63.4 million. These projects protected or enhanced 832,903 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 134,368 acres.
Washington: Since 1985, RMEF and its partners completed 693 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Washington with a combined value of more than $128.9 million. These projects protected or enhanced 493,523 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 129,732 acres.