Volunteers in the Last Frontier
Covering 663,330 square miles, Alaska is by far the largest state in the United States. Though its land mass is enormous, it is home to only three chapters and 1,100 members of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. However, RMEF volunteers in the Last Frontier are actively engaged in ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.
Thanks to funding raised by volunteers at Alaska banquets, the Valdez Junior Rifle Club is right on target.
Four club members and one coach recently made a 7,600-mile round trip to Port Clinton, Ohio, for the Civilian Marksman Program’s Junior Olympic Three-Position Air Rifle National Championships. Not only did they represent Alaska, they did so with honors. On day one of the competition, club members improved on their personal bests with 115 bullseyes and a team score of 2,297. On day-two, the girls topped those scores with 140 bullseyes and 2,323 points to place 16th out of 55 teams. And one Valdez club member placed fourth in the entire nation, earning a bronze medal and a $500 check.
“We are excited but not surprised that these girls performed so well,” said Paul Jenkins, RMEF Alaska regional director. “I also want to salute our volunteers who raised the funding to house them during their trip to Ohio.”
Alaska may be well-known for its Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race, fabulous fishing, brown bear and moose populations, but it is also home to elk. In fact, volunteers generated RMEF funding to assist the state of Alaska in studying the population status, health, habitat use, distribution, mortality causes and other issues to guide management decisions and ensure the long-term sustainability of Alaska’s elk herds on Afognak, Etolin, Raspberry and Zarembo Islands.
Since 1993, RMEF and its partners completed 133 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Alaska with a combined value of more than $6.2 million. These projects protected or enhanced 8,239 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 5,931 acres.
“You don’t need to be large in number to make a big impact on elk and elk country,” added Jenkins. “We see that first-hand here in Alaska and we’re grateful to our RMEF volunteers whose time, talents and dedication are making a big difference.”
What are some of the highlights of volunteering in your state? Let us know by sending an email to [email protected].