November 25, 2017

Public Access Dispute Solved in Central Oregon

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The public will continue to have access to 43,000 acres of central Oregon’s prime elk country thanks to a group effort including the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Bureau of Land Management, Crook County, Oregon Hunters Association (OHA) and the Waibel Ranches, LLC.

“We are pleased that all parties could come together to provide continued access to a part of Oregon revered by elk hunters and others,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “Opening or improving access to our public lands lies at the core of our conservation mission. We hear time and time again from our members how important it is that we carry out this public access work.”

At issue was what was thought to be a public road through private land south of Prineville in the Crooked River drainage that provided access to the southern end of Ochoco National Forest. RMEF provided title work and research that showed continuous public use of the road since the late 1800s.

Waibel Ranches, LLC facilitated the construction of the new road at their own expense and at their own initiative. They did so in order to provide access to the same public lands as a means to reduce the liability, trespass, poaching and littering associated with public travel along the old Teaters Road.

“It’s great to have a partner like RMEF to help find solutions to public land access issues,” said Dennis Teitzel, Prineville BLM district manager.

“This project provides access for hunters and all others that could have been lost without the cooperation and efforts of several organizations. The landowners should be thanked for their willingness to work to solve a problem for the benefit for all,” said Richard Nelson, OHA Bend Chapter past president. “It shows what can be accomplished when all work on a solution instead of locking in to an adversary position.”

Since 1986, RMEF and its partners completed 875 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Oregon with a combined value of more than $57.4 million. These projects protected or enhanced 793,317 acres of habitat and opened or secured public access to 90,073 acres.

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2018 Elk Camp Heads to Arizona, Registration Now Open

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is heading to the sunny Southwest to hold its 2018 Elk Camp March 15-18 in Chandler, Arizona.

“There is nothing like the energy and enthusiasm generated by our members and volunteers at Elk Camp,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “We are excited to get together in Arizona to celebrate our conservation mission and milestones.”

As of July 1, 2017, RMEF has conserved or enhanced more than 7.14 million acres of elk habitat and opened or improved access to 1.15 million acres for hunters, anglers, hikers and others to enjoy. RMEF recently eliminated alllong-term debt for the first time in its 33-year history and is also riding eight consecutive years of record membership growth.

The Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass will host 2018 Elk Camp. As in past gatherings, RMEF will celebrate its accomplishments during Volunteer Fun Night as well as two other nightly events including auctions. Elk Camp will also offer various “Taste of Arizona” events including a desert jeep tour, an excursion to historic downtown Scottsdale and Major League Baseball spring training games (schedules/locations yet to be announced by MLB teams). In addition, attendees may play nearby championship golf courses and take part in other on-site activities such as boating, horseback riding or sitting down at Arizona’s only five-star restaurant.

RMEF will announce its world class entertainment performers and other information in the near future.

Full registration is now open and available here.

RMEF held its 2017 national convention in Nashville, Tennessee.

Current Elk Camp 2018 sponsors include ALPS OutdoorZ, Browning, Sitka, US Bank and BMO Wealth Management.

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RMEF Enabling Perpetuation of GI Wolves

*Editor’s Note* – Below is a press release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. It is the announcement of a $50,000 grant to the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks for wolf management. The presser states that half the $50,000 will be used for “wolf collaring and management actions for problem wolves.” The other half for  “developing what’s called the Patch Occupancy Model (POM) for estimating wolf populations.”

The Federal Government and their totalitarian NGOs, took on a criminal enterprise to force wolves onto the landscape which included the Montana region. Once they strong-armed their “GI Wolves” onto the public, they then forced the Montana taxpayers to now pick up the bill to continue their criminal enterprise. Can you spell extortion? So why is the RMEF enabling the continuation of this criminal enterprise?

Instead of spending $25,000 on collaring problem wolves, why not just kill the damned things and get rid of them? In addition, only a moron thinks that a computer-driven, outcome-based, fake “model” can more accurately tell fake managers how many wolves there really are. The only thing fake computer models will do is manipulate an already rigged system that can be used to con organizations, like the RMEF, out of $50,000 to further perpetuate their criminal activities.

RMEF should use the $50,000 to pay hunters and trappers to kill the wolves and in return this action will please members of the RMEF who are tired of seeing their money spent so that more wolves can be grown which, in turn, further erodes their hunting opportunities. How many elk tags have been taken away from hunters since the proliferation of GI Wolves?

This makes absolutely no sense at all. RMEF needs to rethink their policies.

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

RMEF Grant to Benefit Montana Wolf Management

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) a $50,000 grant to assist with wolf management in the state of Montana.

“Montana’s wolf population is more than three times larger than federally-required minimum mandates,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “This funding will help FWP get a better grasp on wolf numbers as a benefit to wildlife managers tasked with seeking to balance predator and prey populations while doing so in a more cost effective manner.”

Half of the grant funding will go toward wolf collaring and management actions for problem wolves. The other half will assist a joint effort by FWP and the University of Montana in further developing what’s called the Patch Occupancy Model (POM) for estimating wolf populations.

POM incorporates data on territory and wolf pack sizes along with hunter observations and known wolf locations to get to a more accurate estimation of wolf populations. It is a much cheaper undertaking than previous efforts since it incorporates data analysis rather than direct counting efforts.

Montana’s 2016 wolf report shows a minimum of 477 wolves which is down from 536 wolves counted in 2015, however it does not necessarily reflect a reduction in wolf numbers, but rather a reduction in counting effort.

“Though the minimum count is down, we’ve long held that these minimum counts are useful only in ensuring Montana’s wolf population stays above the federally-mandated minimum threshold. The minimum count is not a population count or an index or estimate of the total number of wolves,” said Bob Inman, FWP carnivore and furbearer program chief.

RMEF also provided grant funding to FWP in 2015 for development of the Patch Occupancy Model.

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RMEF Erases Long-Term Debt, Pays Off Headquarters

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is free of any and all long-term debt after making the final payment on its headquarters facility.

“For the first time ever, RMEF has no remaining long-term debt on our books,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “This is a tremendous accomplishment and milestone!”

RMEF began operations in May of 1984 in a doublewide trailer just outside of Troy, Montana. The organization soon grew to cover three buildings in Troy—a vacant dentist’s office, a mini mall and an abandoned grocery store. In 1988, RMEF moved 180 miles south and east to Missoula where it set up shop in a former warehouse.

In 2005, RMEF received a generous 22-acre land donation and built its current 40,350-square foot national headquarters and Elk Country Visitor Center. Additionally, it constructed its 23,556-square foot RMEF Distribution Center next door that serves members, volunteers, staffers, partners, sponsors, shoppers and many other supporters.

“This would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of RMEF volunteers, members, donors and staff. This is also a testament to the financial health and stability of RMEF,” said Allen.

The headquarters loan was scheduled to be paid in full in September of 2019. Upon evaluation of RMEF’s current cash position and analysis of paying off the loan versus carrying the interest to term, it was deemed prudent and appropriate to pay the loan off two years early.

“Paying off this loan early enables RMEF to shift the mortgage and interest investment to where it belongs, the mission. There is no question this is a great day for elk, elk country and our hunting heritage,” added Allen.

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More Elk Country Conserved, Opened to Public Access in Pennsylvania

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—An additional 766 acres of Pennsylvania elk habitat is now permanently protected and opened to public access thanks to efforts by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) and a generous donor.

“This would not have happened without landowners who care about Pennsylvania and both understand and appreciate the crucial wildlife values of this area,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer.

Located in Centre County, the project extends the western unit of State Game Lands 100 to the north along the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. By doing so, it expands that unit to 5,272 acres in size and improves access to it while expanding the overall size of the two State Game Lands 100 units to a combined 21,069 acres.

“This critical acquisition to the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s State Game Land system will not only enhance the agency’s ability to better manage the southern dispersal of its elk herd, but it will benefit all Pennsylvanians by adding an additional 766 acres,” said Bryan Burhans, PGC executive director. “We are grateful for the outstanding partnership between RMEF and the Game Commission.”

The property’s habitat includes oak and pine woodlands, meadows, grassland and key riparian habitat along 1.24 miles of the river. It is home to elk, whitetail deer, black bears, turkey, grouse and other bird and animal life.

“We are especially grateful for our long-standing partners at the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Their dedication and determination made this project possible,” added Henning.

Since 1991, RMEF and its partners completed 424 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Pennsylvania with a combined value of more than $24.9 million. These projects conserved or enhanced 26,874 acres of habitat and opened or secured public access to 9,312 acres.

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David Allen Will Be Leaving RMEF – Search Begins for Replacement

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation announced today the initiation of a search committee to find a replacement for David Allen, RMEF’s President and CEO, whose contract expires in August 2018.

‘RMEF has flourished under David’s leadership for the past ten years and there is no question that he is leaving RMEF much better than he found it,’ explained Philip Barrett, the Chair of RMEF’s Board of Directors, ‘and the end of David’s tenure next August provides an opportunity for the Board to transition to a new leader to secure the continued growth and success of RMEF.’

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, with over 222,000 members, 146 employees, $93,000,000 in assets, and programs and services that touch virtually every state in the country, is one of the largest and most robust conservation organizations in the United States. Mr. Barrett indicated that the vacancy is expected to draw interest from scores of exceptionally qualified individuals, and he noted that the committee has been formed now with the goal of enabling RMEF to conduct an exhaustive search. He added ‘RMEF will issue more information at an appropriate time concerning the search as it gets underway.’

Further information about RMEF and its mission, programs, and membership can be found online at www.rmef.org.

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Montana Elk Habitat Conserved, Opened to Public Access

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—A key wildlife landscape previously threatened by subdivision in northwest Montana is now permanently protected and in the public’s hands thanks to a collaborative effort between the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, a conservation-minded family and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS).

“This property lies within the popular Holland Lake recreational area of the scenic Swan Valley and there was some pressure to develop it,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “We appreciate the landowners for recognizing the wildlife values of the land and reaching out to us to help conserve it.”

The 640-acre parcel offers important summer and winter habitat for elk and whitetail deer. It is also provides key habitat for grizzly bears, Canada lynx and a vast array of other wildlife. Additionally, it contains riparian habitat via springs and a chain of wetland ponds that feed a tributary of Holland Creek.

Located about 65 miles north of Missoula, the property lies west of the Swan Mountain Range and is nestled between the Bob Marshall Wilderness to the east and Mission Mountain Wilderness to the west. It was previously an inholding within the Flathead National Forest but thanks to its conveyance, it now falls under the ownership umbrella of the USFS and belongs to all citizens.

”This acquisition will improve public land access, and help to preserve the recreation setting and valuable wildlife habitat in the popular Holland Lake area,” said Rich Kehr, Swan Lake district ranger.

The Holland Lake project is one of the first to receive 2017 funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Since 1985, RMEF and its partners completed 967 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Montana with a combined value of more than $160.2 million. These projects protected or enhanced 818,826 acres of habitat and opened or secured public access to 289,532 acres.

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RMEF: Silver Linings in Great Lakes Wolf Ruling

*Editor’s Note* – Along with the earlier posting this morning, there is little need to get excited or even optimistic about anyone’s “ability” going forward to “manage” wolves or that states will do anything differently than the Federal Government is doing now. What changes is the financial responsibility is moved from the Feds to the states. Nothing else will change as has been proven in states where wolves are no longer protected under the Endangered Species Act. If you are hoping and thinking that removal of protection of wolves from the Federal Government to the State Governments is going to result in fewer “CONTROLLED” wolves and the state’s ability to manage populations of game animals for surplus harvest, as has been the modus operandi for decades under the North American Model of Wildlife Management will soon take over, you are seriously mistaken.

For what it is worth – meaning that this is but one appeals court decision and several more can make a mockery out of the fake judicial system and change these decisions with the stroke of a pen – where once, many years ago, I argued that environmentalists and the courts could not claim the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service doesn’t have authority to delist a Distinct Population Segment while, at the same time, approving of the act to list a Distinct Population Segment of any species. My argument fell on deaf ears and lo and behold one appeals court sees it the correct way.

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—Unlike its decision earlier in 2017 upholding efforts to delist wolves in Wyoming, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia chose not to do the same in the Western Great Lakes states.

“We are disappointed with this latest ruling, but the court wholeheartedly rejected a number of claims by environmental groups regarding wolves and wolf management,” said David Allen, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation president and CEO. “The court undid a number of roadblocks thus providing a path forward.”

Positive points from the decision:

  • Rejected an environmental group argument that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) did not use the best available science
  • The Endangered Species Act allows the FWS to delist a distinct wolf population segment
  • Supported FWS’s reliance on state management of wolves and other wildlife in the Western Great Lakes states
  • Upheld the FWS’s determination that disease and human mortality do not pose a significant threat to the wolf population
  • There is no permanent barrier to delisting wolves

“This latest ruling came six years after the FWS tried for a third time to delist wolves in the Great Lakes. We call on Congress to approve and pass a legislative fix to halt this non-stop litigation that frustrates successful wildlife management,” said Allen. “These environmental groups continue to use the wolf as a fundraising tool while overlooking and ignoring each state’s approved wildlife management plans.”

As of 2015-16, there is an estimated minimum population of 3,762 wolves in the Great Lakes states. Minnesota’s wolf population is approximately one and a half times above objective. Michigan’s wolf population is more than 200 percent above its state plan and Wisconsin’s wolf population is more than 250 percent above objective.

RMEF recognizes that predators have a proper place on the landscape but that they need to be managed just as elk, deer and other wildlife are managed in accordance with the North American Wildlife Conservation Model.

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RMEF Reaffirms Support of Public Lands

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—In light of continuing chatter and rhetoric aimed at privatizing federal public lands, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation continues to advocate its support for keeping public lands in the hands of America’s citizens.

“The 640 million acres of public land across the United States play a highly significant role in our wildlife system,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Without them, our management system, which is the most successful in the world, would crumble and the health of our wildlife populations would deteriorate.”

Allen publicly challenged Steve Hanke, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, who called on the government to sell public lands to private ownership in a recent issue of Forbes magazine.

“We cannot afford to play games here. What we need is a focused, pro-active land management approach for our public land assets in this country. RMEF will not waiver on supporting public lands but we are seeking better habitat management and the resources to make that happen,” said Allen.

Allen highlighted a recent elk migratory study by Dr. Arthur Middleton that shows how critical public lands are to the survival of elk in the Greater Yellowstone region.

“We have to manage our public lands with more of a focus on wildlife,” added Allen.

RMEF maintains its decades-long position that public lands must remain public and that such land needs to be managed for the benefit of wildlife and public access but especially for the overall health of forests, grassland and waterways.

Since 1984, RMEF and its partners completed nearly 11,000 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects with a combined value of more than $1 billion. These projects conserved or enhanced more than 7.1 million acres of wildlife habitat.

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Here Comes Season Seven of RMEF Team Elk

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—Elk hunting adventures highlight the upcoming seventh season of RMEF Team Elk, presented by Cabela’s.

Team Elk remains one of the most unique hunting shows in all of outdoor television. It’s all elk, all the time,” said Steve Decker, RMEF vice president of Marketing. “It gives us the opportunity to highlight and promote the hunting culture and offer insight about the link between hunting and conservation.”

Season seven of RMEF Team Elk begins the week of June 26 and airs Sundays at 9:00 p.m., Tuesdays at 9:00 a.m. and Fridays at 12:00 p.m. (all Mountain time) on the Outdoor Channel.

Hosted by Brandon Bates, the new episodes feature a first responder from Texas chasing elk in New Mexico, a NASCAR driver who exchanges life in the fast lane for a bow during the Montana rut, a father-teenage daughter adventure, several father-son outings, a woman who chases elk for her first time in Colorado and memorable hunts in Utah and other locations.

In addition to Cabela’s, other RMEF Team Elk sponsors include ALPS OutdoorZ, Bloodsport, Bog-Pod, Browning, Browning Ammunition, Buck Knives, Danner, Eberlestock, Mathews, MTN OPS, Peak/BlueDef, Sitka, Yamaha, YETI Coolers and Zeiss.

“We appreciate our conservation partners for their dedicated support of elk, elk country and the RMEF,” added Decker.

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