Finding land to access is the single biggest reason why people stop hunting or thwarts those seeking to try it. Opening and improving public access to quality hunting opportunities is core to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s mission. Access is also vital so land and game managers are better able to enhance habitat and manage healthy elk populations.
Just three years after its founding in 1984 by public-land hunters, RMEF purchased the nearly 17,000-acre privately-owned Robb Creek Ranch in southwest Montana and conveyed it to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Today, that acreage lies at the heart of what is now the 43,000-acre Robb-Ledford Wildlife Management Area, home to elk and other wildlife, and open to all for hunting and other recreational activities.
RMEF utilizes various tools to improve public access
- land acquisitions and exchanges on checkerboarded lands that create unbroken expanses of public land
- transactions that open or improve access to difficult-to-reach or landlocked swaths of public land beyond
- projects that expand state or federally-managed public land
- road and trail easements that provides legal access to public land
- grant donations to state agency programs that expand hunting access to both public and private land
Below are a few examples of RMEF land conservation and access projects.
Minam River, Oregon
RMEF and its partners conserved more than 4,600 acres of elk and riparian habitat in the first of a two-phase project in northeast Oregon that will eventually comprise 15,573 acres. In addition to creating that new public access, the final project will improve access to an additional 6,000 acres of public land as well as the 361,000-acre Eagle Cap Wilderness beyond.
Falls Creek, Montana
RMEF worked with partners to conserve and open access to 442 acres of prime wildlife and riparian habitat along Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front. The project also greatly improved access to more than 27,000 acres of public land behind the original acreage.
Cumberland Forest, Tennessee
RMEF played an integral role in brokering a deal with several partners to conserve and open access to 74,000 acres in the heart of Tennessee’s elk range. Additional projects over the years, including as recent as early 2022, expanded the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area and linked surrounding public land.
Raymond Mountain, Wyoming
RMEF provided funding to assist with the purchase an access agreement that created a permanent roadway opening access to nearly 33,000 acres of previously difficult to reach public land in the Sublette Mountain Range.
How you can help do more
Join or Donate Toay
When you join or donate to RMEF, you provide critical funding to ensure that RMEF can continue to be good stewards of the land long into the future.