September 25, 2022

Wildlife Habitat Permanently Protected in Colorado

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation teamed up with conservation-minded landowners and Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) to permanently protect 1,742 acres of prime elk and greater sage grouse habitat in northwest Colorado. The project also improves public hunting in a limited draw unit.

“We appreciate landowners who look outside of themselves and recognize the vital importance of protecting their land,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “Protecting this property will maintain its wildlife, agricultural and habitat values while also benefitting nearby public lands.”

The tract is nearly surrounded by public lands. It is also adjacent to the Diamond Breaks Wilderness Study Area and just a few miles away from Dinosaur National Monument and Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge.

“Projects like this protect migration corridors and enhance the connectivity of wildlife habitat. In this particular case, more than 238,000 acres of landscape are now knitted together for the benefit of wildlife and its habitat,” added Henning.

Located in the Pot Creek and Dry Creek watersheds, tributaries of the Green River, the property is key summer and winter range for big game and home to more than 500 elk as well as mule deer and other bird and animal life. It is also core greater sage grouse range and lies within a two-mile radius of leks in both Colorado and Utah, one of which contains more than 60 males.

Though the conservation easement is on private property, the landowner granted a public access easement to CPW allowing public elk hunts every year going forward in the highly limited draw unit of Game Management Unit 1.

“CPW will manage the hunts and public hunters will be allowed to access the landlocked BLM-administered lands,” said Bill de Vergie, CPW’s area wildlife manager from Meeker. “This is very beneficial for wildlife and our sportsmen and I’m glad to see it happen.”

The landowner previously placed a RMEF conservation easement on a 796-acre plot of adjacent ranch land immediately across the border in Utah.


Roaming Elk at Point Reyes Bedevil Ranchers in California 

Tule elk in a refuge have been dying off while a thriving herd outside it has encroached on pastures, rekindling a dispute over the management of the creatures.
Source: Roaming Elk at Point Reyes Bedevil Ranchers in California –


I Want You to Give Up Half Your Land for Wildlife

“Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and Harvard scientist E.O. Wilson says we need to abandon half of the globe to nature or face an extinction event that makes the one that wiped out the dinosaurs look like a blip on the radar.”<<<Read More>>>

I do believe this utter nonsense deserves the “Horse Excrement Award.” (Here’s looking at you, Sweetheart)



Elk Country Permanently Protected, RMEF Work Tops $5 Million in Michigan

MISSOULA, Mont.–The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation teamed up with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to permanently protect 32 acres of prime elk habitat it will transfer into public hands.

“This is a vital transaction because the parcel is an inholding of private property within Michigan’s Pigeon River Country State Forest,” said Blake Henning, RMEF vice president of Lands and Conservation. “There was a real risk here because of the possibility to subdivide the land and turn it into private recreational tracts. The Tubbs Creek acquisition improves access to existing DNR land, provides a link to a continuous area of land owned and managed by the DNR, and provides public access to this previously private-owned land.”

Dating back to 1993, RMEF has now carried out seven land protection projects that permanently conserved more than 3,200 acres of Michigan elk habitat. Overall, RMEF and its partners completed 108 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects with a combined value of more than $5 million since 1990.

“This acquisition is the latest example of our long-standing commitment to elk and elk country in Michigan,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Working side by side with dedicated RMEF volunteers, we plan to increase our conservation efforts throughout the region in the future.”

Located in the northern part of Michigan, Pigeon River County State Forest is home to the largest free-roaming elk herd in the Great Lakes Region. The nearly 100,000-acre state forest contains native hardwoods including sugar maple and basswood as well as pines interspersed with fields and forest openings. The DNR maintains the thriving habitat through careful forest and wildlife management with a focus on aspen management for winter elk food. The 32 acre parcel lies within the heart of the DNR elk management area and is located near one of DNR’s best public elk viewing areas. The DNR also continues to manage adjacent properties to enhance wildlife habitat.

“Elk and elk habitat are not the only winners. Deer, bear, turkey, grouse, and other wildlife are also found on the property, which is also a popular area for those who hunt and enjoy other recreational activities,” added Henning.

The transfer in ownership of the property from RMEF to the DNR will accomplish a long-term goal of consolidating state ownership and maintaining high wildlife values in the Pigeon River Country State Forest.


RMEF Secures 640 Acres of Key Elk Habitat, Public Access in Washington

MISSOULA, Mont.–The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation worked with several partners to acquire and conserve 640 acres of elk habitat in south-central Washington. The tract of land will be conveyed to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

The Pine Canyon property, previously held by Western Pacific Timber, is an inholding within the Wenas Wildlife Management Area located just north of Wenas, northeast of Yakima and on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains.

“Not only is this vital winter range now permanently conserved for elk and other wildlife but there is an important public access component to this project,” said Blake Henning, RMEF vice president of Lands and Conservation. “A private landowner could have purchased the property and closed a road running through it to surrounding public land. Now it will remain open providing access to those who want to hunt or otherwise enjoy it.”

Pine Canyon ranges from 3,000 to 4,200 feet in elevation. It is comprised of steep canyons and ridges dominated by shrub-steppe grassland with scattered stands of Douglas fir and ponderosa pine. The property is home to more than 200 elk during the winter. It is also important for mule deer, bighorn sheep, mountain lions, black bears, bobcats, eagles and quail.

“WDFW had this property targeted as a key conservation project for many years. We are grateful for a partnership that will now permanently protect it,” added Henning.

Funding for the project, in part, came from the Torstenson Family Endowment that is used solely to further RMEF’s core mission programs of permanent land protection, habitat stewardship, elk restoration and hunting heritage.

Since 1986, RMEF carried out more than 300 land protection and habitat enhancement projects in Washington positively affecting more than 319,000 acres of habitat.


RMEF, Partners Add Additional 2,360 Acres of Montana Elk Habitat for Public Access

MISSOULA, Mont.–The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation teamed up with a collaboration of groups to acquire an additional 2,360 acres of land within Montana’s Tenderfoot Creek drainage to protect wildlife habitat and ensure public access. This purchase brings the total acquired land to 5,760 acres of what is now part of the Lewis and Clark National Forest (LCNF).

The groups working to conserve these lands include the Bair Ranch Foundation, RMEF, Tenderfoot Trust and U.S. Forest Service.

“This is a true conservation success story. We applaud our partners for diligently working together to conserve this vital habitat,” said Blake Henning, RMEF vice president of Lands and Conservation. “Not only does this cooperative work greatly benefit elk, other wildlife and trout, but it opens the door for the public to hunt, fish, hike, camp and otherwise enjoy a diverse and beautiful part of Montana’s backcountry.”

The Bair Ranch Foundation originally offered 8,220 acres of private land for sale along the tributary of the Smith River system with a desire that it become publicly owned in order to both conserve the area’s natural resources and to guarantee permanent public access to thousands of acres of intermingled national forest land.

“This phase of the Tenderfoot project was made possible due to the persistence and vision of the Bair Ranch Foundation and a total team effort,” said Henning. “The funding came from the Land and Water Conservation Fund through support from Senators Max Baucus, Jon Tester and our partners.”

The Tenderfoot lands span 3,200 feet in elevation from sub-alpine mountains to grass meadows and riparian areas. The property provides high quality water and fisheries habitat including west slope cutthroat trout, habitat for elk, moose, deer and a multitude of other species, scenic views, and opportunities for many forms of recreation including hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, managed ATV use, snowmobiling and other uses.

“Future generations will camp, fish, hunt and recreate in this area because of the goodwill and foresight of the Bair Ranch Foundation and the hard work of the other partners who worked in concert to make this acquisition a reality,” said District Ranger Carol Hatfield of the White Sulphur Ranger District on the LCNF.

“We started this project more than seven years ago, primarily because it was a checkerboard ownership in a large block of relatively pristine wildlife habitat,” said Butch Marita, chairman of the board for the Tenderfoot Trust. “Completing this project will block the ownership into a solid tract of publicly owned land, thereby conserving the area’s fish and wildlife values. We hope to finish acquiring the rest of the land with one additional phase.”

An additional 2,460 acres of Bair Ranch Foundation lands remain to be acquired to fully complete the Tenderfoot project. Through early 2013, Tenderfoot partners completed five phased purchases, consolidating 5,760 acres of land into the LCNF.