January 22, 2014
RMEF, Landowner Team Up to Conserve
6,000 Acres of Utah Elk Country
MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation successfully worked with a conservation-minded landowner and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) to permanently protect 6,446 acres of elk habitat in northeast Utah.
“We cannot give enough thanks to the Barber family and their partner, Carrus Land Systems, for putting their vision of land and wildlife conservation into action,” said Blake Henning, RMEF vice president of Lands and Conservation. “This donated conservation easement shows the Barber's commitment to conserve scenic landscape values, crucial year-round habitat for a wide array of wildlife and maintain the ability of some species to more easily migrate to nearby public lands.”
“They came in with a very conservation-minded attitude. It's really refreshing to work with landowners like that,” said Scott Walker, DWR regional biologist. “That area is so stinking developable. It's close enough to the Wasatch Front. They could easily have flipped it and put summer homes all across it. This is a huge win for wildlife.”
Located approximately 35 miles southeast of Logan in Rich County, the property ranges in elevation from 7,200 to 8,200 feet and features flat to rolling terrain with steep draws and lateral ridges. It abuts Bureau of Land Management land to the north and east, and the Cache National Forest to the west. The property offers forage, water and cover for more than 300 elk during the winter, fall and spring. It is also home to deer, antelope, sage grouse and moose. Five miles of Birch Creek, as well as several other creeks and seasonal drainages, wind through the property offering prime riparian habitat for Bonneville cutthroat trout.
“The Barber family remains committed to seeing the property remain a working ranch with quality range, but they also teamed with other ranches several years ago to create the Strawberry Ridge Cooperative Wildlife Management Unit,” added Henning. “That means the DWR offers public big game tags for the ranchers to use themselves or sell in exchange for providing free access for public hunters.”
To date, RMEF and its partners completed more than 400 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Utah positively affecting more than 910,000 acres.