MISSOULA, Mont. — Continuing a family conservation mindset dating back to the early 1900s, landowners worked with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) and partners to conserve important habitat for elk, mule deer and other wildlife, and bolster hunting access to adjacent public lands in southeast Wyoming.
“We salute the conservation ethic of our landowner partners,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “Entering into a voluntary conservation agreement with RMEF allows the family to continue to steward their land and maintain its wildlife values while also providing pivotal access through it to improve hunting opportunity on nearby public land.”
The property is about 35 miles northwest of Laramie and is mostly surrounded on three sides by state and federal land. In addition to conserving their land in perpetuity, the landowners and their neighbors extended an existing agreement, managed by WGFD, from five to 20 years for a road access easement that reaches adjacent lands administered by the State of Wyoming, Bureau of Land Management and Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest.
“The road agreement is so important for people that rely on having this avenue to reach public land to hunt. At the same time, it also helps biologists better manage elk and other wildlife to reach population objectives,” said Weaver.
Adjacent to the Snowy Mountain Range, the property features forestland, sagebrush steppe and riparian habitat in the form of perennial streams, a pond and an irrigation ditch, which equates into critical winter and calving range for elk, year-round range for moose and mule deer, pronghorn antelope and Greater-sage grouse habitat.
RMEF appreciates funding partners, which include Ducks Unlimited utilizing North American Wetland Conservation Act funds, Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust, WGFD, Wyoming Governor’s Big Game License Coalition, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, and onX.
RMEF provided funding for multiple habitat stewardship projects in the immediate area, most recently cheatgrass control related to the Mullen Wildfire, as part of its commitment to wildfire restoration in multiple states.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded more than 39 years ago and fueled by hunters, RMEF maintains more than 225,000 members and has conserved nearly 8.6 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.