Elk NetworkRMEF Enters 40th Year Riding a Conservation High

40th Anniversary , News Releases , Volunteer News | January 30, 2024

MISSOULA, Mont. — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation rolls into its 40th year of conservation fresh off a tandem of major land conservation and access successes. 

In mid-December, RMEF and its partners conserved and opened hunting and other recreational access to 54,636 acres of Kentucky elk range, the largest voluntary conservation agreement in state history. One month earlier, a similar landscape-scale collaborative effort in Oregon protected and opened access to 15,573 acres. 

“These two projects, located about 2,200 miles apart, checked the box as long-standing strategic and organizational priorities to benefit elk, mule deer and other wildlife species,” said Fred Lekse, RMEF Board of Directors chair. “Having said that, these are merely two of many significant 2023 conservation achievements in support of our mission.” 

2023 Conservation Highlights 

  • Surpassed 8.9 million acres in lifetime conservation work
  • Completed 11 land conservation and access projects in Colorado, Idaho, Kentucky, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia and Wyoming that protected 72,813 acres and opened or improved access to 77,960 acres
  • Allocated funding for 130 habitat stewardship and 43 wildlife management projects in 22 states that enhanced 161,180 acres in support of calving grounds, winter range, migration corridors and bolstering scientific research both in the East and the West 
  • Increased wildfire restoration funding to $1.6 million for 2021-2023 projects
  • Awarded $842,000 in RMEF/partner support for southern Appalachian elk country
  • Allocated $400,000 to conserve migration corridors and $250,000 for migration mapping
  • Supplied $200,000 to advance chronic wasting disease research/management
  • Completed 291 projects to bolster youth firearm and archery teams, mentored hunts, outdoor and conservation camps, and similar hunting heritage outreach efforts in 38 states 
  • Fortified OutdoorClass, a video-based subscription service for hunters of all skill levels
  • Advocated for/helped restore nationwide school funding for hunter education and archery programs

“We salute our volunteers who work to generate crucial funding for this work by hosting banquets and other events,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “We thank them, as well as our members, donors, sponsors and partners for their continued support.”  

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

Founded in 1984 and fueled by hunters, RMEF has conserved more than 8.9 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.