Photo (left to right): Leon Boyd (RMEF Southwest Virginia Coalfields Chapter chair, Chris Croy (RMEF regional director and Ward Burton (NASCAR driver/elk hunter)
The largest four-legged wild mammal in the Virginia Commonwealth is the focus of a four-day celebration in the western part of the state. The Southern Gap Elk Fest takes place October 14-17, 2020, in Grundy, the county seat of Buchanan County, also home to the state’s elk herd. The festival celebrates the beauty of the surrounding landscape with a spotlight shined on Virginia’s elk population, now numbering approximately 250.
The event began with a sold-out wild game dinner and a fundraising auction hosted by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, which has six chapters and more than 3,300 members across the state.
RMEF also has a long-time interest in Virginia conservation work. Since 1993, RMEF and its partners completed 79 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Virginia with a combined value of more than $1.9 million. These projects protected or enhanced 1,319 acres of habitat. RMEF also provided financial and volunteer manpower support toward the successful restoration of elk to its historic Virginia range in 2012.
Virginia has a goal to institute a highly regulated elk hunt once the population grows to about 400.
Go here to view a recent Ward Burton tweet with some of Virginia’s elk behind him.
(Photo source: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)