They gathered by the hundreds in north-central Montana as members and volunteers of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to celebrate elk, elk country and conservation.
The Giant Springs Chapter held its annual banquet in Great Falls. It included the usual night jammed full of food, fun and fundraising festivities to benefit conservation but it also featured a celebration within a celebration.
Members of the Jennings family along with staffers from the U.S. Forest Service received recognition from RMEF for their part in carrying out the Wilson Park project. RMEF purchased 262 acres from the Jennings family that was a private tract within the Lewis and Clark National Forest and conveyed it to the U.S. Forest Service. Its wildlife values are now permanently protected and open to public access for hunters, hikers and others to utilize.
Located about 45 miles north of White Sulphur Springs, the property provides spring, summer and fall range for elk, and features prime habitat for deer, moose and a wide range of other bird and animal life.
Montana is home to more than 13,500 RMEF members and 23 chapters.
Photo information: Mike Mueller, RMEF land program manager, Jared Wold, RMEF regional director, Sara Maben, deputy forest supervisor – Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest, Beth Ihle, deputy district ranger – Belt Creek-White Sulphur Springs Ranger District, Chuck Jennings, Peter Jennings, Gerry Jennings (Montana Outdoor Heritage Hall of Famer) and Elizabeth Jennings.