Small Colorado Project Has Big Public Access Benefits

In RMEF at Work by RMEF2 Comments

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation teamed up with a conservation-minded landowner, the Bureau of Land Management and Bass Pro Shops to permanently protect and conserve a 28-acre property that improves access to 8,500 acres of public land. The Middle Creek project is located in south-central Colorado at the northern end of the San Luis Valley.

“We are grateful to a willing seller and RMEF member who appreciates wildlife values and supports our goal to convey the parcel to public ownership,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer.

The acquisition connects U.S. Forest Service land to the west and BLM-managed land to the east. Public access for hunters, anglers and others is now available via a county road that spans almost six miles without other public land access points.

RMEF received funding from Bass Pro Shops and will convey the acreage to BLM.

“The Middle Creek project is another critically important step to provide greater access for the outdoorsmen and women of today and tomorrow,” said Bob Ziehmer, senior director of Conservation at Bass Pro Shops. “The efforts of RMEF and BLM help ensure we’re conserving and protecting our precious natural resources for generations to come and inspiring even more people to engage with the great outdoors.”

The property sits at about 8,600 feet in elevation and features quality wildlife habitat including riparian meadows, grasslands and mixed conifers. Open grasslands, aspen groves and mixed conifer stands are on the adjacent public land that leads to peaks higher than 11,000 feet. The immediate area is home to elk, mule deer, pronghorn, black bear, bighorn sheep, mountain lion, upland birds and trout from Middle Creek which meanders through the property.

Since 1984, RMEF and its partners completed 11,114 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects with a combined value of more than $1.1 billion. These projects conserved or enhanced more than 7.3 million acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to more than 1.2 million acres.

Bass Pro Shops is working to ensure the health of our fish and wildlife resources for generations to come. Alongside the continent’s leading conservation organizations, Bass Pro has helped restore millions of acres of habitat, healthy rivers, lakes and streams across North America, with programs that have significantly increased wildlife populations for hundreds of native species.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 227,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.3 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.