Call it a win for public access, hunting, migrating elk and especially the calves of Cowiche.
The eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains are home to Washington’s largest elk herd, but successfully navigating their way from winter range and the calving grounds below to the higher elevation summer range above on Cowiche Mountain used to be on borrowed time as nearby cities expanded.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation joined forces with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and utilized funding from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office to create a permanent passageway by stitching together a patchwork of land acquisitions.
The project began in 2014 with a 2,893-acre parcel, followed by 4,486 more acres of habitat in 2019 and lastly, a 290-acre property in 2021.
Now in one block that lies within the Cowiche Unit of the Oak Creek Wildlife Area, these nearly 7,700 acres provide an obstacle-free alley way for elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep and other wildlife species to freely move across the landscape.
This work only added to RMEF’s rich conservation history in the region, where it helped conserve and open access to more than 125,000 acres across central Washington elk country.
To view the sites and boundaries of RMEF land conservation and access projects, turn on the RMEF layer and use the code RMEF when you sign up for your onX subscription to receive a 20% discount -> Join Here