Elk NetworkGiddy Up! Unique RMEF Fundraiser Supports Conservation

General | July 1, 2024

If you love horses and you love experiencing wild landscapes, this ride is for you.

The Seeley Lake Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation recently hosted a different way to experience conservation firsthand, all while raising funding to support RMEF’s mission. Some 55 men, women and children mounted their horses for a leisurely ride on the Blackfoot-Clearwater Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in western Montana.

Vivien Felker, content specialist for Bugle magazine and a horse lover herself, went along for the ride.

“Everyone was super excited to be there and the people were exceedingly friendly. It was about eight miles long, with five collection stops along the way where you’d draw a number from a bag. At the end of the ride, there were prizes for the highest score, lowest score and high-low split. The highest scoring winner received a slick RMEF-branded pistol,” said Felker. “There was both a live and silent auction, as well as an awesome BBQ lunch that was catered. After the ride, everyone hung out and cooled off while eating lunch and hanging out.”

RMEF has strong ties to the WMA since it completed four past land conservation and access projects that expanded it by nearly 5,000 acres. That’s 5,000 acres more for hunters, hikers, bird watchers and yes, horsemen and women. The WMA provides important winter range for elk and deer while also supplying habitat for black bears, eagles, mountain lions, waterfowl, songbirds and even an occasional grizzly.

“This is a unique fundraiser because being on horseback you’re essentially seeing habitat the way an elk would. Climbing from low, forested environments up to grassy south-facing slopes dotted with Arrowleaf balsamroot, it’s easy to see why the work the RMEF does to conserve these areas is so critical for big game species,” said Felker.

Look for more about the Blackfoot-Clearwater ride from Vivien in the upcoming November-December issue of Bugle magazine.

(Photo credit: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)