September 30, 2013
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 25 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 25 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.