MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation received the Public Lands Foundation’s (PLF) 2018 Landscape Stewardship Award at a ceremony here Tuesday for its leadership in conserving wildlife habitat and improving access on public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
“The RMEF has been a long-time leader in working with the BLM, state and federal agencies, private landowners and other partners to conserve wildlife and enhance access to public lands for hunters, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy,” said Ed Shepard, PLF president. “RMEF’s unique niche as a grassroots, member-driven organization has made a measureable impact as a passionate and effective advocate, working from the ground up to champion access and habitat improvement projects across the country.”
The Montana/Dakotas BLM nominated RMEF for the prestigious award and highlighted RMEF’s successful Cow Island Trail acquisition in north-central Montana immediately prior to the 2015 hunting season. The 93-acre project improved access to approximately 6,000 acres of public land in the scenic Upper Missouri Breaks that were extremely difficult to reach.
“We have worked side-by-side with our BLM partners for more than 34 years and appreciate receiving this honor and recognition,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “It is a reflection of our commitment to our mission and especially is an indicator of the support we receive from our volunteers, members and other conservation partners who support us in all that we do together.”
Over the past 20 years in the Montana/Dakotas region alone, RMEF spearheaded five lands projects conveying 14,015 acres to BLM, opening or improving access to more than 56,000 acres of public lands.
“The Elk Foundation is leaving an indelible mark on the ability of current and future generations to use and enjoy our nation’s public lands,” said Jon Raby, BLM Montana State Director. “RMEF’s ability to work closely with willing landowners to develop strategic access improvement projects is a tremendous asset for BLM and the public.”
The most recent RMEF-BLM Montana effort is the Little Sheep Creek access project in southwest Montana that, when completed, will permanently protect nearly 1,000 acres of wildlife habitat and improve access to 2,600 acres of adjacent public lands.
RMEF and BLM Montana have partnered on more than 60 habitat stewardship projects that directly benefited more than 80,000 acres of habitat for elk and a diverse array of other species. Nationally, the BLM and RMEF have completed more than 1,082 projects with a joint conservation portfolio valued in excess of $143 million dollars.
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.
About the Bureau of Land Management:
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. Diverse activities authorized on these lands generated $96 billion in sales of goods and services throughout the American economy in fiscal year 2017. These activities supported more than 468,000 jobs.