MISSOULA, Mont. — Nearly 4,900 acres of prime elk habitat in northcentral Utah is now forever protected thanks to a conservation-minded landowner, the USDA Forest Service, Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands (FFSL), and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
“This action by the Simonsen family to place a conservation easement on their land to protect its wildlife values speaks volumes to their understanding of and dedication to elk and other wildlife,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “We appreciate and salute them as well as our partners at FFSL who will manage the easement.”
The property, divided up into two separate nearby tracts, is roughly 40 miles east of Spanish Fork in the Wasatch Mountain Range. Bordered on three sides by the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, it provides spring, summer and winter range for elk and is also a crucial calving area. Additionally, it is an important migration corridor for elk and mule deer alike.
While the acreage features four different types of forest stands including aspen, it also consists of several miles of the Left Fork and Middle Fork of the White River plus miles of perennial and intermittent streams, meadows and riparian areas with ponds benefiting many bird, animal and fish species.
“We appreciate the Simonsen family, FFSL, and RMEF for their support and commitment to private forest resources in the state of Utah. The conservation easement provides important habitat for a variety of fish and wildlife species,” said Janet Valle, USDA Forest Service, Forest Legacy and Forest Stewardship Program manager. “We are thrilled that the USDA Forest Service, Forest Legacy Program could help with this conservation effort.”
Project funding came from the Land and Water Conservation Fund through the Forest Legacy Program.
“We are excited that this collaboration between RMEF and the Simonsen family will contribute to maintaining a contiguous forested landscape in this rapidly developing area of Utah,” said Natalie Conlin, FFSL Forest Stewardship & Legacy Program coordinator. “We also commend the landowner’s ongoing management of this Forest Legacy property, and the important contributions it makes to the local economy.”
RMEF carried out more than three dozen habitat enhancement or land protection projects in the same region.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded more than 36 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 231,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 8.1 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.
(Photo source: Louis Arevalo)