It’s also important to note that RMEF is a national leader in acquiring sportsmen’s recreational access dollars from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund to close several key public access projects.
That one million acres of public access accomplishment is a slice of a much larger conservation picture.
On April 9, 1986, fire crews lit a prescribed burn in a remote area of northwest Montana. The aptly named Elk Creek project enhanced 11,000 acres of elk winter range and went down in RMEF’s history books as our first-ever habitat enhancement project.
That early on-the-ground work, in conjunction with continuing partnerships with the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and state wildlife agencies, ignited what has become the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s legendary conservation mission.
One that just this past December saw us surpass Seven Million Acres in lifetime land protection and habitat enhancement projects.
Blake Henning, RMEF Chief Conservation Officer
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation capped 2016, a year filled with several organizational conservation milestones, by surpassing seven million acres in lifetime land protection and habitat enhancement projects.
“This is a tremendous accomplishment that strikes at the very heart of our conservation mission. It is a reflection of decades of hard work bolstered by the support of dedicated volunteers, members, partner organizations, sponsors and many, many other good folks,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO.
RMEF seeks to permanently protect crucial elk range, migration corridors, calving grounds and other areas vital to elk and other wildlife. It does so by using acquisitions, access agreements and easements, conservation easements, land and estate donations, and other similar land conservation tools and projects.
Additionally, RMEF recognizes that healthy habitat is essential for wild, free-ranging elk herds so through the Managed Lands Initiative it helps fund and conduct prescribed burns, forest thinning, noxious weed treatments, water development projects and other such efforts to improve essential forage, cover, water and space components for wildlife. RMEF also supports and funds research and wildlife management work to help maintain healthy, thriving herds.
“Protecting and enhancing habitat are among the most important things we can do for wildlife. We will continue to do all we can in leading that effort in elk country. RMEF will also seek to carry out more public access projects, assist elk reintroduction work, advocate for issues important to conservation as well as sportsmen and women, and do all we can to ensure our hunting heritage,” added Allen.
In November 2016, RMEF, through the Access Elk Country Initiative, topped one million acres in new or improved public access. And in August, RMEF surpassed 10,000 lifetime conservation projects.
RMEF 2016 Milestones Summary
- Surpassed 7 million acres of conserved or enhanced habitat
- Topped 1 million acres of new or improved public access
- Surpassed 10,000 lifetime conservation projects
- Recorded eighth consecutive year of record membership, totaling 222,325 as of December 31, 2016