When hunter and landowner Edwin D. Johnson found out he was terminally ill, he told his wife Linda Zager that he wished to protect their 160-acre property near La Barge, Wyoming. RMEF teamed up with landowner, the Bureau of Land Management and several other partners to permanently protect 160 acres of prime elk and riparian habitat.
The small La Barge Creek tract, nestled in the Wyoming Range in the southwest corner of the state lies at the confluence of three creeks, and actually secures access to more than 47,000 acres of surrounding public land.
The land is located at the confluence of Miller and La Barge creeks-the latter of which is the site of a westslope cutthroat trout restoration effort. Several subdivisions lie to the east of the property, and the land was highly desired for development.
Why It’s Important
Surrounded by Bureau of Land Management lands, the parcel’s sagebrush hillsides, sedge meadows and riparian stream side provides an important big game migration route that improves connectivity for elk, moose and mule deer. It also provides vital habitat for the Canada lynx, cutthroat trout and serves as winter range for elk.
Roughly 50 percent of Wyoming’s land mass is made up of public land, but getting access to landlocked expanses of public land can be a big hurdle.
In addition to permanently protecting the land for its conservation values, RMEF worked with the BLM and a local contractor to repair an impassable road through the property just in time for the 2015 hunting season.
The tracts provides access to BLM lands including the Miller Mountain Management Area and Lake Mountain Wilderness Study Area as well as nearby state land and the Bridger-Teton National Forest were improved.
Today, the La Barge Creek tract and its vital wildlife habitat stand forever protected PLUS there’s now year-round public access to any and all to enjoy hunting, fishing, camping and other outdoor activities.
The La Barge Creek project serves as yet another example of how RMEF’s Access Elk Country initiative is improving wildlife habitat, creating and improving access for hunters and demonstrating how hunting is conservation.