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

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Celebrating New Access to Central Montana’s Elk Country

It was only fitting. The October sunshine streamed down and warmed more than five dozen people who gathered in the remote Big Snowy Mountains of central Montana to celebrate a transaction that will positively affect generations of hunters in years to come. 

“Opening up access to 18,000 acres of public land through a 40-acre parcel like this is one of the crowning achievements for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and our members,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “It’s a true payback to our members who put so much time and effort into the organization and it lets them have access to some of the most incredible country in central Montana.”

Allen made those comments moments after taking part in a dedication ceremony of the Red Hill project along with RMEF volunteers, members and staffers as well as federal, state and local government leaders, landowners, ranchers and others. As he thanked all those involved with the project, he spoke respectfully about one person they probably never met and did not know, but a man whose influence and passion for RMEF and elk country rings as strong as ever despite his passing many years earlier.

Bob Torstenson would be so proud to know resources he provided to us are directly responsible for this project and many projects that will follow like this. And I mean directly responsible. We did not sell this back to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks for the same amount we bought it for by design. The state didn’t have the budget and we didn’t care. That’s not what it was about. We were glad to take a loss, quote-unquote, on paper because the gain is so much bigger on the ground, and all in the name of the Torstenson family. I know Bob Torstenson would be extremely proud his legacy will live on in a piece of property like this,” said Allen.

After the unveiling of a sign marking the occasion, many of those on hand headed up the trail to make their way to the Lewis and Clark National Forest—the first time in years such a hike was even possible.

“This project is pretty special to me because it’s really the first true access project I’ve been involved with at the Elk Foundation in my 6-plus years of being here,” said Allen. “This is the first one I can actually reach out and touch and say we did this with our resources and we did it immediately and we opened up 18,000 acres of public land that was otherwise pretty inaccessible.”

The entire project came together and was finalized in just a matter of weeks, and marks a blueprint of what is to come.

“There are projects like this across the West and we’re out looking for them and we’re going to make them a high priority to keep his hunting culture alive and make it easier and better for the hunter-members of ours and the nonmembers who really support our wildlife system and believe in public land hunting. This is critical to us and something we should all be proud of,” Allen added.

Big Snowy Mountains elk

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