Ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

Friday, March 1, 2013

A Monumental Moment, Honoring a Man & Spreading His Legacy

They rose to their feet as one. More than a thousand elk and elk country lovers clapped and cheered to recognize the magnitude of the moment.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation just entered a new stratosphere of conservation thanks to the vision and passion of one man and his family. RMEF President and CEO David Allen announced the creation of the $30 million Torstenson Family Endowment that came from the sale of the Torstenson Wildlife Center, formerly known as the Double H Ranch, which was owned by the late Bob Torstenson and gifted to RMEF a decade earlier. 

Gwen and Eric Torstenson & David Allen
On stage at Elk Camp, before a full house at RMEF's national convention, Bob’s youngest son Eric and his wife, Gwen, acknowledged the response. Eric, at times overcome with emotion, expressed his love for his father, and his father’s love for family, elk and elk hunting. 

Bob Torstenson
Allen then promised Eric that RMEF would spread Bob Torstenson’s passion and legacy via on-the-ground conservation and hunting heritage projects that would positively affect future generations. RMEF founders Bob Munson and Charlie Decker immediately followed and pledged to do the same. 

The mantle is now passed. It now rests with RMEF. Time to go forward and deliver! 

Check out this Outdoor Life article for a Q & A with David Allen about the transaction. 

(Below is a news release announcing the Torstenson Family Endowment.) 

$30 Million Torstenson Family Endowment a “Game Changer” for RMEF Conservation

.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is the recipient of one of the largest endowments ever gifted to a hunter-based, wildlife conservation organization. The $30 million Torstenson Family Endowment will allow RMEF to vastly accelerate the rate at which its carries out its mission to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

“This is a monumental game-changer for RMEF,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Thanks to the generosity of the Torstenson family, this endowment allows RMEF to expand Bob Torstenson’s passion and vision for wildlife and conservation in ways we could have never imagined.”

The Torstenson Family Endowment (TFE) comes as a result of the sale of the Torstenson Wildlife Center, former known as the Double H Ranch, a sprawling 93,403 acre ranch in west-central New Mexico gifted to the RMEF by Bob Torstenson in 2002.

RMEF will use proceeds from the TFE to further its core mission programs: permanent land protection, habitat stewardship, elk restoration and hunting heritage.

“The impact this endowment will have on RMEF’s on-the-ground projects is incredibly far-reaching,” said Blake Henning, RMEF vice president of Lands and Conservation. “This gives us the potential to increase our mission accomplishments substantially. RMEF plans to invest half a million dollars this year alone toward improving elk habitat and supporting hunting heritage projects.”

The TFE allows RMEF to increase project funding by attracting matching funds both from the private and public sectors. It also allows RMEF to much more quickly meet and head off the habitat changes and challenges taking place across the United States.

RMEF also maintains a conservation easement on the entire 93,403.4 acres of deeded land which stretches between two mountain ranges—the Datils and the Gallinas—and two portions of the Cibola National Forest. It harbors thickly timbered ridges, deep coulees and steep hillsides. At the property’s center is an expansive plain, 80-acre lake and accompanying riparian habitat. It is home to elk, deer, pronghorns, mountain lions, coyotes, quail and a variety of song bird and other species. The easement looks the same today as when Bob Torstenson originally placed it on the property, meaning the habitat remains conserved and protected forever.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
RMEF is leading a conservation initiative that protected or enhanced habitat on more than 6.2 million acres—an area larger than Yellowstone, Great Smoky Mountains, Grand Canyon, Glacier, Yosemite and Rocky Mountain national parks combined. RMEF also is a strong voice for hunters in access, wildlife management and conservation policy issues. RMEF members, partners and volunteers, working together as Team Elk, are making a difference all across elk country. Join us at www.rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.

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