January 22, 2009
Elk Foundation Leads Bailout on Quarter-Million Acres
MISSOULA, Mont.—In a year remembered for economic woes, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation led a bullish 2008 bailout that protected or enhanced more than a quarter-million acres of habitat for elk and other wildlife.
Without our stewardship efforts, those lands would have spiraled into weed-choked meadows, overgrown forests, developments or other forms of elk-country bankruptcy.
The 2008 totals bring the Elk Foundation’s lifetime conservation impact to over 5.5 million acres.
“We had a great year, especially when you consider the economic climate,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “We funded 456 projects, mostly habitat projects in elk states, as well as education and hunting heritage projects across the nation. In all, 40 states benefitted from the efforts of our volunteers and supporters.”
Land protection projects, including a landmark exchange that added 61,000 acres of elk habitat to the state forest system in Washington, impacted 99,348 acres. Habitat enhancement projects like weed treatments, forest thinning and prescribed burns touched another 161,551 acres. Combined acres totaled 260,899.
Education and hunting heritage projects helped over 200,000 students and adults learn more about conservation and America’s sporting heritage.
A few RMEF highlights from 2008:
Brokered a land swap in Washington’s central Cascades that conserved and secured public access on 61,578 acres of habitat for the state's largest elk herd.
Began construction on new Elk Country Visitor Center in north-central Pennsylvania.
Launched a multi-year project to rejuvenate 4,200 acres of aspen in Idaho’s Swan Valley.
Completed forest thinning to improve elk forage on 1,194 acres in the Santa Fe National Forest of New Mexico.
Opened for public access and protected 2,800 acres of elk habitat in Wyoming’s Big Horn Mountains.
Helped reseed 590 acres of reclaimed mining lands to native grasses and forbs in Kentucky’s elk range.
Completed a conservation easement protecting 4,119 acres of elk calving grounds near Dolores, Colorado.
Protected 500 acres as part of a multi-year 2,400-acre habitat project in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Repaired wildfire-damaged water tanks in Arizona’s Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.
Helped complete a land acquisition that protected 640 acres of elk habitat in Pigeon River State Forest in Michigan.
Continued research to determine feasibility of restoring elk to the Grasslands Ecological Area in California’s San Joaquin Valley.
Acquired 235 acres of private inholdings to be conveyed to the Bureau of Land Management in Nevada’s Goshute Canyon Wilderness.
Acquired and conveyed to U.S. Forest Service 100 acres of private inholdings in Montana’s famed Elkhorn Wildlife Management Unit.
The Elk Foundation finished 2008 with over 150,000 members and 10,000 volunteers. Along with hundreds of partners, supporters and donors, the organization enters 2009—the year of RMEF’s 25th Anniversary—with energy and enthusiasm.