September 30, 2016
Small Wyoming Project Yields Big Public Access Benefits
MISSOULA, Mont.—Thousands of acres of previously difficult to access public land in western Wyoming are now accessible thanks to efforts by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and its partners.
“Chalk this up as a win-win on several different fronts,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “This project provides public access for hunters and others who enjoy the outdoors but it also permanently protects important habitat for elk and other wildlife.”
RMEF, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) and private landowners teamed up to permanently protect a 44-acre tract in western Teton County that improves access to 6,400 acres of nearby Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Caribou-Targhee National Forest lands. The property also provides a contiguous public route from the lowlands of the Teton River Valley to the sprawling Jedediah Smith Wilderness Area and the Grand Teton National Park beyond that.
“Sportsmen and the public had a difficult time accessing BLM and National Forest land south of Teton Creek unless they knew a property owner in the area,” said Doug Brimeyer, wildlife management coordinator for the WGFD’s Jackson Regional Office. “The partnership that developed from this acquisition was spearheaded by several RMEF members and is a great example of how local members and sportsmen can get involved and make a difference. WGFD is excited about the newest access area in Wyoming and looks forward to working with RMEF in the future.”
The tract features riparian, mountain forest, meadow and foothills habitat beneficial to elk, moose, mule deer, grizzly and black bear, mountain lion, Canada lynx and other wildlife.
“This property was brought to our attention by father-daughter RMEF members Jeff and Lexi Daugherty. They helped us with key relationships and efforts along the way, and we are grateful for their involvement,” added Henning.
In addition to the generous contribution of the van Meerendonk family, funding contributions from WGFD, Jackson Hole Land Trust, Wyoming Wildlife Foundation, private donors and RMEF’s Torstenson Family Endowment helped complete the acquisition.
RMEF uses TFE funding solely to further its core mission programs of permanent land protection, habitat stewardship, elk restoration and hunting heritage.
WGFD takes over management of the property just in time for Wyoming’s big game general hunting season.