January 30, 2012
Strong 2011 has RMEF Eyeing an Ambitious 2012
MISSOULA, Mont.—Record-high membership. Strong fiscal performance. A landmark 6 millionth acre of habitat stewardship and protection. On the momentum of these and other accomplishments in 2011, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is eyeing 2012 with ambitious goals for conserving elk country, improving predator management and control, and building public understanding of hunters’ leadership in conservation.
“Our members and partners were part of something pretty special last year,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO.
Highlights from 2011 include:
- RMEF helped enhance habitat on 111,894 acres, mostly on public lands, for elk and other wildlife. The total exceeded the organization’s annual goal by 11,894 acres.
- Protected 40,952 acres of habitat, exceeding RMEF’s annual goal by 7,952 acres.
- Passed the 6 million-acre lifetime mark for habitat enhanced or protected, finishing 2011 with a combined total of 6,123,622 acres.
- Reached 636,424 acres secured for public access including hunting.
- Restored a wild elk herd in Missouri.
- Fueled elk restoration projects in Virginia and Maryland.
- Continued legal and legislative efforts to manage and control gray wolves.
- Reached more than 700,000 students and others with positive messages on hunting, shooting and conservation.
- Recorded a fourth straight year with a new record for membership, now at 184,135.
- Received the highest rating, 4 Stars, from Charity navigator, America’s top charity ratings service.
- Finished the RMEF fiscal year with budget-positive black ink.
Allen said these successes and others have RMEF entering 2012 on a crest of enthusiasm. With the organization’s recent annual convention and membership rally in Las Vegas a great success and hundreds of local RMEF banquets and fundraisers slated for coming months, expectations are building for another memorable year.
Dozens of on-the-ground conservation projects are already in the works. Habitat stewardship and protection efforts are expected to reach milestone figures in several states. Nationally, RMEF could reach the 8,000 mark in total projects completed as it marches toward its 7 millionth acre conserved for elk and other wildlife.
Youth and public education initiatives, all with a hunting heritage slant, will continue to receive funding and volunteer manpower from RMEF in 2012.
RMEF also will power two special campaigns.
The first will focus on the growing need to manage and control predators. Wolf, bear, lion and coyote populations are well above science-based objectives in many areas. In extreme cases, predation and negative effects on game species are causing declines in hunting participation. Lost hunting license sales now are translating to budget cuts for conservation agencies. Balancing predator populations could help.
Second, RMEF is vowing to help Americans better understand how all wildlife, both game and non-game species, depend on hunters. “Hunting Is Conservation” will apply a variety of tactics to communicate an important message—that is, without hunters and the money they provide for today’s habitat, research, management and law enforcement programs, the outdoors overall would surely suffer.
Allen said, “We’re proud of the year we had in 2011, but we can’t afford to celebrate too long, because the challenges of conservation are constantly evolving and changing. We can’t wait to respond. We have to get out in front of the issues.”
He added, “If success builds on success, then I believe RMEF is well positioned to help make a meaningful difference again in 2012.”
To join and support RMEF, visit www.rmef.org.