MISSOULA, Mont. — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation participated with Albany County and Pilot Hill Inc., the Wyoming Office of State Lands and Investments (OSLI), University of Wyoming (UW), Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) and other partners to permanently protect wildlife habitat and open access in southeast Wyoming.
The 7,059-acre Pilot Hill project area now links the town of Laramie to 65,000 acres of adjacent U.S. Forest Service, State of Wyoming and privately protected lands on the western flank of the Laramie Range.
“This landscape provides critical habitat for elk, mule deer, pronghorn antelope and many other wildlife species,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “The land exchange and purchase took great cooperation over a number of years and is a testament to the power of partnerships. We greatly appreciate the hard work and dedication of the private landowners and partners to get it done.”
The majority of the Pilot Hill project area came about from an OSLI land exchange combined with land acquired by UW. The result is 5,472 acres of newly protected lands that are now in the public’s hands. That new acreage combines with an inholding managed by the Bureau of Land Management and two parcels of state land resulting in a total of 7,059 acres – more than 3,000 of which will be managed by WGFD as a wildlife habitat management area.
In addition to its wildlife values, the project allows for a wide variety of recreational activities including future hunting opportunity. It also protects scenic views as well as the Casper Aquifer, the primary source of drinking water for residents of Albany County.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded more than 36 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of nearly 235,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.9 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.