Public land east of the Mississippi River, and getting access to it or private land is challenging at best.
Take North Carolina as an example, where less than eight percent of its 34 million acres is federally owned, and that’s actually much better than most nearby states.
In 2001, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation assisted with the successful restoration of wild elk into Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Knowing elk need room to roam, RMEF and its partners since purchased five different properties from willing landowners adjacent to the park totaling 1,925 acres that are now called the William H. Silver Game Lands. Plus, RMEF provided significant grant funding since then to enhance habitat there for elk and other wildlife.
This area surrounding Great Smoky Mountains has one of the highest visitation rates in the nation, and the potential for development is high. As a result, RMEF and partners continue efforts to secure additional public access opportunities. Also, in early 2019, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission held a series of public meetings that included the possibility of establishing an in-state elk hunt down the road.
When that does happen, hunters will have increased access opportunities.
So far, RMEF opened or improved access to more than 1.2 million acres across 23 states.
Opening and improving public access is key to RMEF’s conservation work.
To learn more about the sites and boundaries of RMEF access projects near you or your favorite hunting area, turn on the RMEF layer in the onX Hunt App.
Plus, use the code R-M-E-F when you sign up for your new onX subscription to receive a 20 percent discount, and a portion of the proceeds benefit RMEF’s conservation mission