Taking action to benefit elk and other wildlife species, hunting and conservation, is a wide-ranging, non-stop labor of love for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. And it has many tentacles, to boot.
“Sometimes it involves high profile things like testifying before Congress and initiating letter-writing campaigns about wildlife regulations or legislation on the national or state levels,” said Ryan Bronson, RMEF director of government affairs. “But more often it is the blocking and tackling.”
Perhaps there is no better recent “blocking and tackling” example than virtual testimony offered before the Washington State Gambling Commission in early May. Alex Baier, regional director for western Washington, appeared before commissioners to ask for a waiver so RMEF can raise conservation funding above the $300,000 raffle limit the state now has in place.
Bair told committee members that RMEF is committed to providing training to staff and volunteers to remain within the limits of the state’s raffle and gambling laws, while also noting the broad support it receives from communities statewide. He also related RMEF’s conservation work that, to date, is highlighted by the completion of 755 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects that conserved or enhanced 509,242 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 130,661 acres.
“We’ve only been able to accomplish such impactful, large-scale work in Washington because of the dedicated support of our Washington volunteers and members who support the mission through our primary method of fundraising – our big game banquets,” said Baier.
Moments later, one commission member made a motion and group unanimously approved RMEF’s request by a 5-0 vote.
RMEF is committed to reforming fundraising laws for the 21st century so it may continue to raise vital funding for on-the-ground mission work.
Washington is home to 23 RMEF chapters and nearly 13,000 members.
(Photo credit: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)