April 7, 2016
Major Landscape Project to
Benefit Wyoming Wildlife Habitat
MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation committed $365,000 toward a multi-year aspen and forest restoration project on Wyoming’s Shoshone National Forest.
“This is what the RMEF is all about,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “This collaborative landscape-scale partnership will implement a series of strategic projects using active vegetation management that will have a positive impact on elk populations, habitat and hunting opportunity.”
The two targeted areas within the Shoshone National Forest are in Long Creek west of Dubois and in the South Pass area south of Lander which is on the southern end of the Wind River Mountain Range.
“The Shoshone National Forest is very fortunate to have an outstanding partnership with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation,” said Joe Alexander, Shoshone National Forest supervisor. “We are working to leverage funds from additional partners in an attempt to better utilize the RMEF grants to perform landscape scale projects on previously identified elk migration corridors on the Shoshone National Forest. We would not be able to appropriately manage the Shoshone National Forest resources at this scale without this key partner.”
Habitat stewardship projects include aspen enhancement, prescribed fire, fence removal, timber harvest and thinning, and noxious weed control across a targeted landscape covering approximately 260,000 acres. The individual treatments begin in 2016 and, depending on the specific approach and acreage to be covered, will take place over the next five to ten years.
“It’s a big win for elk on the Shoshone National Forest because it’s a key migration route in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. And it’s a big win for the overall health of the forest which benefits moose, mule deer, ruffed grouse and many other non-game species that live there too,” said Blake Henning, RMEF vice president of Lands and Conservation. “The interagency cooperation to pull this all together has been somewhat rare and exemplary.”
In addition to RMEF, other project members include the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Wyoming Game and Fish, state forest personnel and other groups and organizations.
Planning for this landscape project has been in the works for about five years. It will benefit more than 12,000 elk and a wide variety of other species.