MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation worked with a willing landowner to permanently protect 1,492 acres of wildlife habitat in western Colorado, well-known for Grand Mesa, the largest flat top mountain in the world.
“We are grateful for Fred Lekse’s vision in seeing the need and acting on the desire to establish a conservation easement on his property,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “Because of his insight, the habitat is permanently protected for elk and an array of other wildlife species.”
“I appreciate the good work of RMEF in helping to make this happen,” said Lekse. “This is a special place and will now remain so in perpetuity.”
The acreage is eight miles southeast of Collbran and approximately 12 miles east of 795 acres of other RMEF-held conservation easements. This easement represents RMEF’s fourth permanent land protection project in Mesa County.
The property lies within the Colorado River watershed and contains a variety of habitat types including more than one mile of intermittent drainages of Salt Creek. It serves as winter range, summer range, and transition range for elk, moose and mule deer, while also benefitting many other species and serving as a wildlife corridor connecting adjacent public lands.
RMEF works with willing landowners to establish conservation easements to protect crucial elk winter and summer ranges, migration corridors, calving grounds and other areas vital to elk and other wildlife.
Lekse is a long-time RMEF life member. He also joined the RMEF Board of Directors in 2015, served in various leadership capacities on different board committees and was recently elected as chairman.
“My time on the RMEF Board is relatively short but by donating this conservation easement to permanently protect its wildlife values, I feel I am able to make an additional contribution that will last forever,” added Lekse.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of nearly 235,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.6 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at www.rmef.org, elknetwork.com or 800-CALL ELK.