February 21, 2018

Nancy Holland to Serve as RMEF Interim CEO

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation announced that the Board of Directors has asked Nancy Holland to serve as president and CEO on an interim basis.

“To join the team at this time is very exciting. RMEF has a special place in my heart,” said Holland. “Stepping into this new role, forefront in my thoughts and actions are our members, donors, sponsors and fellow staff members and the conservation mission they have entrusted us to carry forward.”

Holland is taking a leave from the RMEF Board of Directors, where she served since 2016, while the search continues for a long-term replacement. She and husband Howard are staunch supporters and life members who also served together as co-chairs of RMEF’s Habitat Council.

“Throughout my time with RMEF I have been blessed to meet and befriend wonderful, passionate people. It is these people, individuals, families and corporations that are the essence of RMEF. We come together in our passion for the future of elk and other wild life, wild places and our tradition of hunting. It’s what makes RMEF great.”

A graduate of St. Louis University, Holland has 35 years’ experience in investment and finance including managing a team of global investment professionals working on behalf of their international clients. Since 2009, she served as managing partner of Sapphire Point Partners LLC, which specializes in business consulting and real estate investment.

“RMEF has a strong financial footing, solid membership growth and an environment that supports our mission. We have a 5-year plan that we have been executing. We are solidly on our way to accomplishing those goals and surpassing them,” added Holland. “At the end of the day, it’s all about delivering mission. It’s why we are all here.”

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Elk Habitat Protected, Hunting Access Improved in Colorado

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—Thanks to a conservation-minded landowner and a key state funding program, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation joined Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) to permanently protect 2,677 acres of vital elk habitat in northwest Colorado.

“We are grateful to Rick Tingle, a RMEF life member, for placing a conservation easement on his Louisiana Purchase Ranch,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “Additionally, this project highlights the critical need for the Colorado Wildlife Habitat Program (CWHP) and its Habitat Stamp which supplied important funding to help push things through to the finish line.”

“With a fast-growing human population, it is more important than ever before to ensure the state’s wildlife has the habitat it needs to survive in perpetuity,” said Bill de Vergie, CPW area wildlife manager. “Thanks to funds provided by Great Outdoors Colorado and CPW’s Habitat Stamp Program, a very valuable stretch of land is now protected through the CWHP. Some limited public hunting access will also be provided so the benefits of this easement will pay dividends well into the future.”

CWHP provides a means for CPW to work with private landowners, local governments, and conservation organizations to protect important fish and wildlife habitat and provide places for people to enjoy opportunities to hunt and fish.

Since the ranch is bordered on three sides by State Land Board and Bureau of Land Management land in a part of the state home to Colorado’s largest elk herds, it provides connectivity for elk and mule deer migration. Thousands of elk pass through the area during the spring and fall. The property also provides summer and winter range for both species and other wildlife.

“This truly is a special place,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO, who has visited the location. “We are grateful to the Tingle family for recognizing and helping us protect the wildlife values of this land.”

Access is improved to surrounding public lands because the landowner will provide perpetual unlimited permission to public hunters for a 25-day period each year with drive-through access. In addition, he signed off on a 10-year CPW agreement to provide access for six elk and/or deer hunters on lands off County Road 23 during a three-day window during Colorado’s third rifle season.

Since 1987, RMEF and its partners completed 726 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Colorado with a combined value of more than $165.2 million. These projects protected or enhanced 447,910 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 107,992 acres.

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RMEF Eyes New Leadership, Maintains Same Conservation Mission

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation announced Chief Executive Officer David Allen is stepping down effective January 31, 2018.

“With David’s cooperation, RMEF has been able to implement a transition plan to ensure RMEF’s continued success in the years to come,” said Philip Barrett, RMEF chairman of the board. “David and his family have become an integral part of the RMEF family. We thank him for his contributions and leadership and wish him the best of success in his future endeavors.”

As RMEF moves forward, it maintains a focus on its long-standing conservation mission of ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

During Allen’s tenure, RMEF recorded nine consecutive years of record membership growth, conserved or enhanced nearly 1.8 million acres of wildlife habitat, opened or improved access to nearly 600,000 acres of public land and erased $16 million in debt to become debt-free for the first time ever. The organization also increased its volunteer base to more than 11,000 and assisted with successful elk reintroductions in Missouri, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Additionally, RMEF significantly boosted its hunting heritage outreach and advocacy efforts, secured in excess of $50 million in endowed funds, including the establishment of the Torstenson Family Endowment, and launched the Elk Network, an online digital platform dedicated to all things elk and elk hunting.

“I have enjoyed every day of my nearly 11 years here at RMEF. This is a great organization with some of the best wildlife professionals anywhere,” said Allen. “I support the board of directors’ search for a new CEO to take RMEF to the next level. I expect great things for RMEF in the future. I have other projects that interest me and this is a great time to pursue those opportunities.”

RMEF will release developments in its search for new leadership in the near future.

 

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RMEF Conserves Wisconsin Elk Habitat

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation permanently protected key elk habitat in Wisconsin elk country by first acquiring and then conveying a 360-acre inholding to Jackson County Forest.

“This is a crucial transaction because it prevents the potential of development and fragmentation within an area that is vital to Wisconsin’s newest elk herd,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “It also both improves and increases public access for hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities.”

The Morrison Creek property is surrounded on three sides by the 122,000-acre Jackson County Forest and is located less than three miles east from where more than 70 elk were released in 2015-2016. The area also provides year-round habitat for black bear, whitetail deer, wild turkey and an array of other wildlife species.

The acquisition opens the door for improved wildlife management practices as well as habitat stewardship work designed to promote early seral habitat for elk and other wildlife.

RMEF previously supplied funding for a nearby grassland enhancement project to increase meadow habitat.

Snipe Lake II Project
RMEF also purchased an 80-acre private inholding within the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. The transaction, which builds on a prior acquisition in Wisconsin’s northern elk restoration area, permanently protects key elk habitat and is critical to future forest management efforts.

Since 1990, RMEF and its partners completed 455 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Wisconsin with a combined value of more than $8.5 million. These projects protected or enhanced 5,848 acres of habitat and opened or secured public access to 1,630 acres.

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RMEF Soars to 9th Straight Year of Record Membership

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—Riding a wave of conservation success, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation enters 2018 with 227,650 members, marking its ninth consecutive year of record membership growth.

“This continual sustained growth is a reflection of our on-the-ground conservation mission and improved advocacy and outreach efforts,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “We are grateful to our members, volunteers, partners and sportsmen and women who are so supportive.”

This new tally marks a 50 percent increase in membership since 2008 and a 2.4 percent increase from a year ago.

Among its 2017 highlights, RMEF erased all long-term debt and remains debt-free for the first time in its 33-plus years. It also launched the Elk Network, a new online digital outreach tool focusing on all things elk and elk hunting. Additionally, RMEF assisted with ongoing elk restoration efforts in Wisconsin and reaffirmed its support of America’s public lands. It also bestowed its highest conservation honor on its 11,000-plus volunteers for their dedicated efforts in boosting RMEF’s mission.

“While we value and appreciate this record growth trend, RMEF vows to do all we can to increase and accelerate our conservation mission of ensuring the future elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage,” added Allen.

Since 1984, RMEF and its partners completed more than 11,000 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects with a combined value of more than $1.1 billion. These projects protected or enhanced 7.2 million acres of habitat and opened or secured public access to 1.2 million acres.

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Kimber Donates $50,000 to RMEF’s Conservation Mission

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation accepted a $50,000 donation from Kimber in response to strong sales of the Kimber Camp Guard 10.

“We appreciate and value the support of our partners at Kimber,” said Steve Decker, RMEF vice president of Marketing. “This donation is evidence of both Kimber’s support of our conservation mission and of a quality firearm that is valued by hunters and recreational shooters alike.”

Designed in collaboration with RMEF for use in the backcountry, the Camp Guard 10 is comfortable to carry. As a 10 mm handgun it also combines sought-after personal defense features in what is widely considered the best semi-auto bear cartridge.

Made of stainless steel and featuring a rosewood grip with a RMEF logo, Kimber set aside a portion of the proceeds from the sale of each handgun to benefit RMEF.

“We are proud to play a role in conservation and give back to our partners at RMEF,” said Ryan Busse, Kimber vice president of sales. “Kimber is a company of hunters and shooters, and of RMEF Members. We consider it an honor to provide the finest hunting and shooting gear to the people who are engaged in conservation and hunting.”

The Camp Guard 10 remains popular in the general market. RMEF also offered it to its life members and features it in its nationwide banquet program. It is one of RMEF’s more popular officially licensed products.

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New Format, More Prize Money at 2018 World Elk Calling Championships

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will unveil its own version of March Madness at the 2018 World Elk Calling Championships. Similar to the popular basketball tournament, competitors will now face off in a bracketed format.

“We are excited to unveil this new format as it will increase elk calling skills and boost friendly rivalries,” said Steve Decker, RMEF vice president of Marketing. “And to add to the excitement and level of competition, RMEF will double the prize money from a year ago.”

The 2018 World Elk Calling Championships will take place March 16-17 at the International Sportsmen’s Expo (ISE) at South Towne Exposition Center in Sandy, Utah.

Prize Money
Professional                            $5,000
Men’s                                      $2,500
Women’s                                 $2,500
Voice                                       $2,000
Youth (ages 11-17)                  $1,000
Pee Wee (10 & younger)         $1,000
Second- and third-place finishers in all above divisions will receive gear prizes.
(First place winnings in the Team division will remain $500.)

To compete, all contestants must register online. There are no entry fees.

Go here to watch a video from the 2017 World Elk Calling Championships.

A regional qualifying event, which is not mandatory to compete in Utah, will take place January 13 at the ISE Denver show. Register at that event by visiting RMEF’s Great Elk Tour or the Sportsmen of Colorado (booth #827) on the show floor.

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New Road Improves Access to 12,000 Acres in New Mexico

Press Release from Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—A new road is now in place and being used by elk hunters and others in northeast New Mexico thanks to funding provided by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Lineberry Foundation.

RMEF worked with the New Mexico State Land Office to improve vehicular access to approximately 6,000 acres and walk-in access to another 6,000 acres of State Trust Lands in the White Peak Area.

“This project eases the tension of a long-running dispute in Mora County over access into prime wildlife habitat,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “Not only is this mix of private and State Trust Lands key for elk but it’s also home to deer, turkey, bears, mountain lions and other species.”

RMEF provided nearly $20,000 in funding to blade the 2.5 mile road that ties into existing ranch roads and old logging roads within Game Management Unit 48 that improves access to Halls Peak, Cooks Peak and Gallinas Mesa. It is accessible off Mora County Road 10, commonly known as White Peak Road.

Additionally, RMEF paid for a 35-year right-of-way easement that blocks future land commissioners from closing the road through 2052.

The project also secures access to a primitive seven-acre campground open during hunting season solely to sportsmen and women with a valid license. RMEF volunteers also recently put in 40 hours of work to clear the campground with chainsaws, build an access gate and install a gap gate.

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Biggest, Best Hunter & Outdoor Christmas Expo Quickly Approaching

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s 2017 Hunter & Outdoor Christmas Exposition promises to be its largest and best show to date. It runs in conjunction with the 10-day National Finals Rodeo and will take place Dec. 7-16 in the South Halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center, upstairs from Cowboy Christmas.

“Far and away, this is one of our favorite events we look forward to every year,” said Steve Decker, RMEF vice president of Marketing. “We are excited to join partners, supporters, outdoorsmen and women, and so many other people who support RMEF’s conservation mission and our shared outdoor way of life.”

The combined Cowboy Christmas and Hunter & Outdoor Christmas Expo event covers more than 900,000 square feet and features the best of western lifestyle, firearms, optics, outfitters and guides, hunting apparel and all things hunting and outdoors.

2017 Hunting & Outdoor Christmas Expo highlights:

  • Wrangler Rodeo Arena & Junior National Finals Rodeo events on the show floor
  • Realtree Live Stage performances by Daryle Singletary, Easton Corbin, Mark Wills and others
  • Daily CanCooker cooking demonstrations, Elk Network original film screenings and Cowboys for Conservation interviews with Matt West
  • MTN OPS Ultimate Archery Experience
  • $80,000 in Cowboy Country raffle prizes at RMEF Booth 819
  • RMEF Great Elk Tour

Doors open daily at 9 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.

Hunter & Outdoor Christmas Expo sponsors include ALPS OutdoorZ, Browning, Cabela’s, Chevrolet, Cinch Jeans & Shirts, The Mirage, MTN OPS, Peak BlueDEF, Realtree, Record Rack, Sitka, Traeger and Weatherby.

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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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