Elk NetworkTour of Minam River Project Opens Eyes

Conservation | September 15, 2021

A small group of onlookers gathered on the large northeast Oregon landscape that makes up the Minam River Acquisition project. They came together to experience the sights first-hand as the time nears for phase 1 of the project to come to a close.

“I’ve been on there many times now and I’m just overwhelmed how big the project is in totality,” said Bill Richardson, RMEF senior conservation program manager-western.

RMEF is collaborating with Hancock Natural Resources Group and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) to conserve 15,573 acres of wildlife habitat. The first phase of the project covers 4,610 acres with a scheduled closing date of December 2021. Fundraising continues for phase 2 featuring 10,964 acres with a tentative closing date of December 2023.

In addition of RMEF representatives, the latest group on the property included a handful of ODFW staffers, a field representative and east/natural resources liaison for Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) and the coordinator of the Forest Legacy Program coordinator. The Minam collaboration hopes to utilize funding from the Forest Legacy Program toward phase 2 of the project.

Participants gained an appreciation for the scale of the property, the abundant wildlife and aquatic resources and the potential for future public access off Highway 82. Highlighting one example of the importance of multiple use recreational activities in the immediate area, the group met and chatted with horse packers about to enter the Minam.

The Minam River recently received a ranking as the second-most ecologically important waterway in Oregon.

(Photo source: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)