June 17, 2016
Idaho Elk Country Permanently Protected,
Public Access Improved
MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation teamed up with conservation-minded landowners and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to permanently protect vital wildlife habitat in southeast Idaho.
Thanks to funding provided by BLM’s Land and Water Conservation (LWCF) Recreational Access Fund and RMEF’s Torstenson Family Endowment (TFE), RMEF transferred 398 acres of prime elk country approximately 15 miles east of Idaho Falls to the BLM to expand the 34,000-acre Tex Creek Wildlife Management Area (TCWMA).
“This land provides vital winter range for upwards of 7,000 elk and mule deer as well as important riparian habitat for a wide variety of other species,” said Blake Henning, RMEF vice president of Lands and Conservation. “It also permanently protects the land, improves landscape connectivity for wildlife and both creates and improves public access for hunters, hikers and others to enjoy it.”
“We are very excited about the new recreational opportunities the Tex Creek acquisition provides,” said Jeremy Casterson, field manager, BLM Upper Snake Field Office. “Thanks to LWCF Sportsman and Recreational Access funds and successful collaboration between the BLM, the private landowner, Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG), and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, we were able to expand and enhance the public's ability to access and enjoy this area's prime hunting and other recreational activities.”
To date, RMEF worked with BLM and the IDFG to add more than 3,250 acres, or approximately 10 percent of the overall acreage, to the TCWMA.
RMEF utilized more than $85 million in LWCF funding across 62 projects in ten different states in partnership with federal agencies to protect, conserve and open access to some of the most vital elk country in the United States.
“We are grateful for landowners who recognize and cherish the conservation value of their land. We are also appreciative of BLM’s efforts in providing LWCF funding for this worthy project,” added Henning.
Established in 1965, LWCF funding is derived from federal oil and gas leases on the Outer Continental Shelf. Since its inception, more than $4 billion in LWCF funding has been made available to state and local governments to fund more than 40,000 projects located in nearly every county throughout the nation.
RMEF only uses TFE funding to further its core mission programs of permanent land protection, access, habitat stewardship, elk restoration and hunting heritage.