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

Monday, December 30, 2013

RMEF Opens 13,000 Acres of Oregon Elk Country, Secures Public Access to Public Lands

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation headed up a successful collaborative effort to permanently protect and open access to 13,082 acres in the Headwaters of the John Day River in northeast Oregon. By purchasing the land and conveying it to the United States at a bargain sale price, the transaction also secures and improves access to tens of thousands of acres of publicly-owned National Forest System lands.

“This is a victory for hunter-conservationists, anglers, hikers and anyone who wants public access to more than 13,000 acres of what was previously inaccessible private land in the heart of Oregon’s elk country,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “We are grateful to a family that understands the importance of conserving crucial elk habitat and wildlife management while also providing a way for improved access to a landscape loaded with numerous vital resource values.” 

"My husband loved the outdoors and hunting," said JoAnne Johnson, wife of D.R. Johnson and co-owner of D.R. Johnson Lumber Company. "Don always felt that ultimately blocking up our sections with the Forest Service property made the most sense. It is the family's hope and desire that now this beautiful and unique area will remain accessible for hunters, fishermen, and all outdoorsmen, and that it will receive some much needed forest management as well. It is a bittersweet moment for us, but we believe Don would want the citizens of Grant County to be able to enjoy this amazing property for generations to come."

The acreage, which was a vast checkerboard ownership pattern of alternating private and public sections south of Prairie City, is now consolidated into one mass block of public ownership under management of the U.S. Forest Service (see map below). It is located in the Strawberry Mountains on the Malheur National Forest. 

“This is wonderful news,” said Pacific Northwest Regional Forester Kent Connaughton. “It’s a huge present for the people of Oregon and the nation. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is to be congratulated for inspiring and leading this key project.”

“The project area covers a 40-mile landscape around the origin and main stem of the John Day River as it flows north to the Columbia River and provides crucial linkage with existing public lands and all-important wildlife corridors,” said Blake Henning, RMEF vice president of Lands and Conservation. 

The Headwaters not only provide first-class habitat for elk but also for mule deer, black bears, pronghorn, mountain goats, grouse, quail and a host of other wildlife. Four federally listed birds and four federally listed mammal species of concern inhabit the property. The area is also of critical importance to salmon, steelhead, bull trout, redband and westslope cutthroat trout due to the cold water inputs the headwater tributaries provide to the John Day River. 

“The most important aspect of this transaction is the entire project area is no longer threatened by development,” said Allen. “And not only is new land available to the public, but public access to existing federal land will be improved and new links can be made to existing trails.” 

RMEF partners include the D.R. Johnson family, the U.S. Forest Service and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
RMEF is a leading conservation organization that protected or enhanced habitat on more than 6.3 million acres—an area larger than Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Glacier, Yosemite, Rocky Mountain and Great Smoky Mountains 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.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Holiday Wishes from David Allen

Dear RMEF Family,

Where did 2013 go? This has been a great year for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Thanks to the hard work of our volunteers nationwide and our dedicated staff, we enhanced and conserved more vital habitat across elk country. And thanks to your continuing support, we also opened and secured public access to more elk country for hunters and others to enjoy. 

The bottom-line is Santa has been good to us in 2013. Christmas truly is a special time of year. Millions and millions will revel in the good tidings of great joy we feel this season. It is a time to show love and appreciation to those around us. 

I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to my wife, my two boys, my friends and my RMEF family. I cherish those special relationships that so enrich my life. I am also grateful to be a small part of this growing army of conservationists who strive daily to enhance the future of elk and other wildlife. Together, we are doing great things for elk and elk country while strengthening and passing on our hunting tradition. 

Lastly, I want to wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Take advantage of the holiday season to express sincere gratitude to loved ones and our Maker for the many blessings in our lives. And as for 2014, bring it on. It’s going to be another great year! 


M. David Allen
RMEF President/CEO