MISSOULA, Mont. — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and its partners awarded Minnesota $212,975 in grant funding to enhance wildlife habitat and support various hunting heritage and outdoors-related projects. RMEF directly granted $62,175 and leveraged an additional $150,800 in partner dollars.
“A portion of this funding directly targeted 500 acres in northern Minnesota to improve habitat for elk, deer, moose, bears and other wildlife,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “The grants also support organizations and events designed to expose more adults and children to hunting, shooting, conservation and the outdoors.”
Minnesota is home to 19 RMEF chapters and more than 7,400 members.
“This funding is only available to go back on the ground in Minnesota because of the time and talents of our volunteers. We salute and thank them for helping advance our mission,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “
Since 1990, RMEF and its partners completed 212 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Minnesota with a combined value of more than $4.6 million. These projects protected or enhanced 78,654 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 943 acres.
Below is a list of Minnesota’s 2019 projects, shown by county.
- Shear 375 acres of over-mature brush on the Grygla, Moose River and Wapiti Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) to trigger early successional new growth of forage to benefit elk and other wildlife. Additionally, crews will install 10 miles of firebreak (also benefits Marshall County).
- Provide funding for the Bemidji High School Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corp (JROTC) air rifle program that offers leadership and shooting skills as well as promoting ROTC in the community.
- Manage 75 acres of forage plots on the Grygla and Wapiti WMAs to benefit the Grygla elk herd and alleviate depredation pressure on private land (also benefits Beltrami County).
- Aggressively treat common buckthorn, a non-native, invasive shrub, in the Thief Lake and Karlstad areas.
- Maintain 50 acres of high quality forage plots on the Karlstad WMA to draw elk away from agricultural crops and benefit other wildlife.
- Refurbish two stock ponds, fill 3.5 miles of ditches negatively affecting wetlands hydrology and convert four miles of fence to wildlife-friendly fencing on state-managed wildlife lands within the Tallgrass Aspen Parkland.
- Provided funding to upgrade the Marshall Area Public Archery Range, a free-to-the-public facility that benefits beginner and expert archers alike.
- Provided funding for the Big Lake Sportsman’s Club’s 2020 Youth Clay Pigeon Shoot, an annual event for youth ages 11-16 from across central Minnesota to take part in fishing, wildlife conservation and shooting activities.
- Provided funding to support the Minnesota Youth Outdoor Day at the Nicollet Conservation Club. Activities included archery, shooting, fishing, canoeing and kayaking, among others (also benefits Brown, Le Sueur and Sibley Counties).
- Provided funding in support of the Minnesota Horse and Hunt Club’s Youth Hunting Camps for boys and girls ages 12 to 16 years old. Participants from Minnesota and several surrounding states learn about archery, firearms, conservation and bird dogs.
- Provided funding in support of the Minnesota Governor’s Deer Hunting Opener, an event designed to celebrate, promote and educate the public about hunting and its ties to conservation.
- Provided funding for the Becoming an Outdoors Woman program that features shooting instruction and a learn-to-hunt pheasants workshop for women and family members.
- Provided funding for the 4-H Outdoor Wilderness Leadership and Service Program that hosts adventure-based outdoors events designed for youth in grades 6-11.
- Provided funding to cover costs of the Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Sportsmen’s Legislative Caucus printed materials that educate legislators about key natural resource management and outdoor recreation issues important to the hunting and fishing community
- Provided funding for the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League’s 2020 Championship, a co-ed activity for students in grades 6-12.
Minnesota project partners include the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, private individuals, businesses and various conservation, sportsmen and civic organizations.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded more than 35 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of nearly 235,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.9 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.