Some 50 to 60 people representing the RMEF, U.S. Forest Service, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Walmart (funder), volunteers and local supporters came together as project partners to recognize the major conservation accomplishment. They looked back on all the hard work it took to bring the project to a successful conclusion. They looked ahead to a future of unencumbered public access for hunters, hikers, anglers and others. All the while, they paused in the present to look around and soak in the majesty and beauty of some of Oregon’s finest elk country.
But this is no narrow victory. Elk are certainly not the only winners here. The Headwaters are vitally important because tributaries provide life-giving cold water inputs to the John Day River for salmon, steelhead, bull trout, redband and cutthroat trout. Four federally listed birds and four federally listed mammal species also live on the land as do mule deer, black bears, pronghorn, mountain goats, grouse, quail and a host of other wildlife.
This is a win-win. And on this day, protecting and securing access to thousands and thousands of acres of crucial wildlife habitat is most definitely a victory worth celebrating!
|RMEF staffers Bob Springer, Blake Henning, Grant Parker, Jennifer Doherty and Bill Richardson|
(left to right)