When you get a chance to conserve and open access to a great piece of elk habitat, you do what it takes to get it done.
Back in 1998, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and its partners acquired 4,042 acres in the heart of Pennsylvania’s elk country.
Known as the New Garden project, the reclaimed mine land features a timbered plateau that drops down to nearly three miles of frontage along the West Branch of the Susquehanna River in the northcentral part of the state.
It’s key elk range, it’s also home to deer, black bears, turkeys and a plethora of other wildlife species.
Once conserved, the next step was to get it into the public’s hands.
However, an expected legislative vote for the allocation of hunter-generated dollars to buy the property hit a political snag.
Undeterred, RMEF volunteers combined with scores of sportsmen and women to send letters to newspapers and legislators – it worked.
By an overwhelming 192-to-3 vote the next session, the measure passed.
RMEF conveyed most of the acreage to the Pennsylvania Game Commission for creating State Game Land 321 and the rest to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to expand Sproul State Forest.
To this day, the property belongs to the public and remains open for hunting, fishing and other forms of recreation.