September 25, 2020

Torstenson Family Honored with RMEF?s Highest Award

MISSOULA, Mont. – The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation presented the Bob Torstenson family with its highest honor, the Wallace Fennell Pate Wildlife Conservation Award, to honor special contributions of lasting significance for the benefit of elk and elk country.

“Bob Torstenson’s passion and the gift of his New Mexico ranch will have incredibly positive ramifications for RMEF, elk, elk habitat and the ability to pass on our hunting heritage to our kids and grandkids for generations to come,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO.

Torstenson gifted his sprawling 93,403-acre Double H Ranch to RMEF in 2002. A recent transfer in ownership of the since renamed Torstenson Wildlife Center established the Torstenson Family Endowment (TFE). RMEF will solely use proceeds from the $30 million TFE to further its core mission programs of permanent land protection, habitat stewardship, elk restoration and hunting heritage. It also allows RMEF to increase project funding by attracting matching funds both from the private and public sectors, and allows RMEF to more quickly head off the habitat changes and challenges taking place across the country.

Eric Torstenson, Bob’s youngest son, along with Eric’s wife Gwen, accepted a bronze sculpture on behalf of his late father and family in front of a standing ovation of more than 1,000 people during the 29th annual RMEF Elk Camp national convention, which ended March 3 in Las Vegas.

“This is all my father’s doing. He absolutely loved elk. He loved elk, loved kids. And both of those together is what RMEF in his eyes can be and is,” Eric said. “In the long run, so many lives, so many animals, a lot of land – it’s just going to be touched in a broad sphere.”

“In keeping with Mr. Torstenson’s wishes, priority 1A for endowment funds, right up there alongside habitat protection, is support for youth programs. We have to not only help more kids get outdoors and developing some skills, but also start selling the hunting heritage message – that hunting is conservation – to help youths and the non-hunting public see how our wildlife system functions, and how hunting is such a critical part of that,” added Allen. “Priority 1B is hunting access. We’re especially interested in searching for, identifying and developing solutions to challenges of public wildlife on private land.”

RMEF maintains a conservation easement on the entire ranch, thus conserving and protecting the habitat forever.

Wallace Fennell Pate, RMEF’s first president and chairman of the board, dedicated his time, energy and financial resources for the betterment of wildlife in North America. Now deceased, Pate became a national role model for groups or individuals concerned with natural resources conservation.

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$30 Million Torstenson Family Endowment a Game-Changer for RMEF Conservation

MISSOULA, Mont. – The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is the recipient of one of the largest endowments ever gifted to a hunter-based, wildlife conservation organization. The $30 million Torstenson Family Endowment will allow RMEF to vastly accelerate the rate at which it carries out its mission to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

“This is a monumental game-changer for RMEF,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Thanks to the generosity of the Torstenson family, this endowment allows RMEF to expand Bob Torstenson’s passion and vision for wildlife and conservation in ways we could have never imagined.”

The Torstenson Family Endowment (TFE) comes as a result of the sale of the Torstenson Wildlife Center, formerly known as the Double H Ranch, a sprawling 93,403-acre ranch in west-central New Mexico that was gifted to RMEF by Bob Torstenson in 2002.

RMEF will use proceeds from the TFE to further its core mission programs: permanent land protection, habitat stewardship, elk restoration and hunting heritage.

“The impact this endowment will have on RMEF’s on-the-ground projects is incredibly far-reaching,” said Blake Henning, RMEF vice president of Lands and Conservation. “This gives us the potential to increase our mission accomplishments substantially. RMEF plans to invest half a million dollars this year alone toward improving elk habitat and supporting hunting heritage projects.”

The TFE allows RMEF to increase project funding by attracting matching funds both from the private and public sectors. It also allows RMEF to much more quickly meet and head off the habitat changes and challenges taking place across the US.

RMEF also maintains a conservation easement on the entire 93,403.4 acres of deeded land, which stretches between two mountain ranges – the Datils and the Gallinas – and two portions of the Cibola National Forest. It harbors thickly timbered ridges, deep coulees and steep hillsides. At the property’s center is an expansive plain, 80-acre lake and accompanying riparian habitat. It is home to elk, deer, pronghorns, mountain lions, coyotes, quail and a variety of songbirds and other species. The landscape today looks the same as when Bob Torstenson originally placed the easement on the property to conserve and protect its habitat in perpetuity.

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