MISSOULA, Mont. — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation furthered its financial commitment to defeat a Colorado ballot proposal (formally known as Initiative 107) driven by environmentalists ignoring what is going on around them.
“We have said this from the beginning and nothing has changed. Using the ballot box to circumvent professional wildlife managers and create wildlife management policy is reckless. On top of that, now more than ever, it’s fiscally irresponsible,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “Proponents continue to push for millions in new public spending for a forced and totally unnecessary wolf introduction even though wolves are already confirmed on the ground and taxpayer money to fund it simply is not available.”
The Colorado legislature recently made a series of drastic spending cuts to deal with a $3 billion budget shortfall triggered by the coronavirus. Those cuts included $448 million from K-12 education and $493 million from higher education. It also made other significant cuts and cancelled four planned tax breaks even as legislators say the outlook for the state’s 2021 budget looks bleak.
“Dollars aside, a lot of people don’t realize the impact this measure would have on wildlife. Of the state’s 64 statewide elk and deer units that are already under population objective, 54 of those are west of the Continental Divide, ground zero for the proposed wolf introduction. Colorado’s outdoor industry would absolutely see a significant negative financial impact. It currently generates $1.85 billion annually,” added Weaver.
With 29 chapters and nearly 17,000 members, RMEF has a strong, active presence in Colorado. In 2019 alone, RMEF and its partners granted $2.57 million in funding to enhance wildlife habitat and research.
Since 1987, RMEF and its partners completed 790 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in the state with a combined value of more than $178.2 million. These projects protected or enhanced 469,886 acres of habitat for elk and a wide array of other wildlife species, and opened or improved public access to 122,107 acres.
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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 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.