MISSOULA, Mont. — Thanks to the actions of conservation-minded landowners, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation helped permanently protect 970 acres of important elk habitat in southcentral New Mexico.
“We appreciate Gary and Laurie Fonay for their desire to reach out to us to place a conservation easement on their property,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “They are long-time RMEF members and volunteers but more than that, they are stewards of the land who understand and cherish its wildlife resources.”
The property is about 15 miles east of Ruidoso and 50 miles west of Roswell in an area known as Pajarita Flats in the Sacramento Mountains. Located in the headwaters of the Rio Hondo River between the Lincoln National Forest and Mescalero Apache Tribal lands at an elevation of 6,600-7,100, expansive grasslands dominate the landscape dotted with oak, pinyon, juniper and ponderosa pine.
“This tract recovered well from a wildfire that burned across it in 2011,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “The range is in good condition with high-quality forage that provides key habitat for elk, mule deer, wild turkey, black bear and other wildlife species.”
Pajarita Flats is a focal area for conservation work as RMEF completed more than 20 habitat enhancement projects within a 30-mile radius.
RMEF works with landowners open to establishing conservation easements to protect vital elk winter and summer ranges, migration corridors, calving grounds and other areas crucial to elk and other wildlife.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded more than 36 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of nearly 235,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 8 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 rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.