MISSOULA, Mont. — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust and Wyoming Governor’s Big Game License Coalition collaborated with private landowners to permanently protect 2,091 acres of vital habitat and ranchland in southern Wyoming.
“We recognize and appreciate these families for their desire to forever protect the wildlife, ecological and agricultural values of their land,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO.
The conservation easements lie in a drainage along the eastern foothills of the Snowy Range Mountains, a rich landscape that provides open space views, and terrestrial, avian and fisheries habitats.
The Blake family focused on conservation for a number of years. While growing up in Laramie, Chad Blake remembers visiting the Little Laramie Valley with friends. “It’s humbling now, after all these years, to have the opportunity to live here with my family and know that with the help of RMEF, a portion of this special area will be conserved for future generations to enjoy,” said Blake.
A biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service previously stated species richness and diversity is astounding along this segment of the Little Laramie River. Not only is the property an important wildlife corridor that supplies year-round habitat for up to 350 elk, but it is also crucial winter range for elk, moose and mule deer and habitat for many other game and non-game species, particularly for birds.
Recorded observations show 81 different types of birds use the area for breeding grounds. And since the river bisects the property, it also offers key riparian habitat for wild trout and other species of fish.
“Conservation easements have a tremendous footprint in Wyoming,” said Rusty Schwartz, NRCS Wyoming acting state conservationist. “Wyoming NRCS is proud to assist producers, like the Blake Family, and our partners, with conserving areas with such rich biodiversity, for both wildlife and vegetation.”
“Like many places in Wyoming, the Little Laramie Valley is a hidden treasure, with a rich history of agriculture and the settlement of this great state. Equally important, and perhaps more obscure, are the highways and byways this valley provides for the movement of wildlife, including those that move seasonally and those that live here year-around,” said Bob Budd, Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust executive director. “Congratulations to the Blake family. I know this is very near and dear to their hearts, and it is a true gift to the future generations of Wyomingites.”
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 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.