August 24, 2019

RMEF Tops One Million Acres in Public Access Projects

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*Editor’s Note* – While it is encouraging and generally a good thing that land is accessible for public use, one has to question the decision by RMEF to buy and then deed land over to government agencies. Historically, government agencies, all of which are in bed with environmental groups, have a tendency to restrict or limit use of public lands. It seems a shame should RMEF use members’ money to buy up land to protect access for hunting and the promotion of elk growth, only to discover the government later bans hunting and/or access on the same lands. Perhaps there is a better way.

RMEF has opened or secured access to 84 acres per day since its founding in 1984

MISSOULA, Mont.—From its first project in Montana 28 years ago to its most recent this fall in New Mexico, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation just surpassed one million acres in lifetime projects that created, maintained or improved access to public land.

“This is a tremendous milestone that strikes at the heart of our conservation mission,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Providing public access for hunters, anglers and others allows all of us the opportunity to better value, appreciate and care for our wildlife and wild landscapes. We especially appreciate the strong, continual support of our RMEF volunteers and members for helping make this happen.”

RMEF worked alongside scores of conservation partners over the years including the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), state wildlife agencies and other organizations to complete 249 access projects in 23 different states with wild, free-ranging elk populations.

First project: Robb Creek, Montana (16,440 acres)
RMEF purchased private land and conveyed it to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. It is now called the Robb-Ledford Wildlife Management Area.

Latest project: Alamocita Creek, New Mexico (40,000+ acres)
RMEF purchased 5,867 acres of private land which it conveyed to the BLM. The project also improves access to 35,000 of surrounding public land.

Largest project: Cumberland Forest, Tennessee (74,000 acres)
RMEF granted funding to assist the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency purchase a private forest previously owned by a paper company.

Smallest project: Evandale Township, Montana (.287 acres)
Part of the Royal Teton Ranch project, RMEF purchased and conveyed five small lots to the USFS which lie within the Yellowstone wildlife migration and winter range corridor.

“One million acres of public access is indeed a significant accomplishment but we have much more work to do,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “RMEF has an annual goal of creating or improving public access to 50,000 acres per year. Through our Access Elk Country Initiative, we have our sights set on an additional 150,000 acres of access by 2019.”

RMEF has opened or secured access to 84 acres per day, every day since its founding in 1984. That plays out to 4.6 acres for each of its 219,750 members.

One million acres equates to 1,563 square miles which is roughly the size of 758,000 football fields (end zones included) and slightly less in area than the state of Delaware (1.2 million acres).

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