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


Thursday, May 28, 2015

RMEF Calls on Congress to Reauthorize Critical Conservation Funding

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation recognizes the crucial importance of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and urges Congress to fully reauthorize it.

Congress passed the Land and Water Conservation Act in 1964. It directs our lawmakers to appropriate up to $900 million every year into LWCF from federal offshore drilling fees for the protection of important land, water and recreation areas for Americans to enjoy. LWCF does not receive taxpayer money. Over its 50-year history, LWCF has protected land in every state and supported more than 41,000 state and local park projects. Unfortunately, it has only been fully funded twice and more than $17 billion of those funds have been diverted elsewhere. And now, Congress is now considering doing away with LWCF altogether.

Since 1990, RMEF has utilized more than $85 million in LWCF funding across 62 projects in ten different states in partnership with federal agencies to protect, conserve and open access to some of the most vital elk country in the United States. Among them are the successful high-profile protection and public access projects of Tenderfoot (Montana) and Headwaters of the John Day (Oregon). Other states with RMEF projects that received LWCF funding include Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin.

John Day Headwaters (Oregon)


Highlighting one state as an example, here are some of the benefits of LWCF in Montana:
  • $237.6 million invested 
  • $34 million spent through the Forest Legacy Program keeping timberland in production 
  • Conserved 181,000 acres of working forest lands through the Forest Legacy Program as of 2012
  • $3.4 million to purchase/improve approximately 165 fishing access sites 
  • Purchased, at least in part, 800 recreational sites such as city parks, trails and ball fields 
  • $6.2 million to buy or upgrade state parks 
  • $7.4 million paid to the state to buy or upgrade lakes, wildlife refuges and other lands
  • $38 million in grants to school districts, state, county and municipal parks departments 
As a conservation organization that has protected or enhanced more than 6.6 million acres of prime elk habitat, and in behalf of sportsmen and women across the nation, RMEF believes it is imperative that Congress reauthorizes LWCF.

Go here to read Keeping Montana the “Last Best Place,” a report on the Land and Water Conservation Fund and its impacts on Montana.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Red Flags for Arizona Hunters

Arizona RMEF Members,

It is imperative that we as hunters and conservationists raise our voices when issues arise that trigger vital conservation concerns. One of those issues is happening right now within the borders of your home state. 

The Obama administration is considering a presidential designation to create a 1.7 million-acre Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument. Such a move could have a detrimental impact on wildlife, wildlife management, hunter access, water rights and other associated issues, and all without any public input or Congressional oversight whatsoever.

Please read over the letter below from the Arizona Game and Fish Commission regarding a federal initiative and take action.

Sincerely,





M. David Allen
RMEF President and CEO



PROPOSED GRAND CANYON WATERSHED NATIONAL MONUMENT: RED FLAGS AND POTENTIAL CONSEQUENCES

The Arizona Game and Fish Commission opposes the unilateral Presidential designation of a new 1.7 million acre National Monument in the Grand Canyon Watershed (Monument). This designation, which would incorporate lands currently managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) in a multiple-use framework, would have potential adverse impacts to wildlife and resource management, traditional land uses, and associated economic activity. Several environmental organizations, along with three of Arizona’s nine U.S. Representatives, are advocating for this unilateral executive designation. Several key points illustrate why this is wrong for Arizona:

Creating another national monument, without input from Arizona stakeholders, denies a voice to those most affected. No designation of a national monument should take place without public discussion and approval of Arizona residents, stakeholders, and Congress. Such an important decision deserves a transparent process with a robust discussion of the consequences that such a designation brings.

The proposed monument would add to a funding shortfall the federal government is already struggling to overcome. The current estimated shortfall in deferred maintenance at existing national parks and monuments is $11.5 billion; Grand Canyon National Park is 5th on that list with backlogged projects totaling $330 million. Adding an additional 1.7 million acres to that system is fiscally irresponsible.

Forested areas within the proposed monument are at risk of catastrophic wildfire and in need of restoration. The proposed monument includes some of the most extensive tracts of old-growth ponderosa pine forest in the Southwest. Decades of fire suppression and hands-off management have created conditions ripe for unnaturally large and intense wildfires that can devastate old growth forests, wildlife habitat, and watershed function. One such event (the 2006 Warm Fire) has already occurred within the area. Under the current multiple-use framework, restoration efforts that include mechanical thinning and prescribed burns have been delayed by administrative appeals and controversial litigation. Placing the area under a more restrictive designation will make essential restoration projects even more litigious and difficult to implement.

Current management of areas within the proposed monument is sustainable and has public and partner support. Multiple-use management of BLM and USFS lands within the proposed monument is driven by resource management plans incorporating extensive public involvement, the best available science and expertise provided by the state wildlife agency. Designating a new monument via unilateral executive authority undermines extensive prior collaboration, agency planning, and public support for existing management of this area.

Extensive tracts of public land near or within the proposed monument are already protected by special designations. These include the Grand Canyon Game Preserve (600,000 acres), 8 National Parks/Monuments (4.9 million acres) and 9 Wilderness Areas (400,000 acres). Additional special designations like the proposed monument will adversely impact sustainably-managed working landscapes that are central to the social and economic fabric of Arizona.

Designation will add new layers of bureaucratic process and delay needed management actions. Once designated, the responsible federal bureaucracy will need to develop a new resource management plan for the Monument, a process that has taken an average of 10 years for other recently designated Arizona monuments. Until the plan is completed and has withstood potential administrative and legal challenges, many management actions will be placed on hold, compromising wildlife habitats, wildlife populations and forest health.

Designation will impede proactive and effective management of wildlife populations and habitats within the monument. Wildlife management activities will require more complex planning by agencies that are already understaffed, and will face challenges from special interest groups philosophically opposed to active management to benefit wildlife and other resources. Wildlife translocations, maintenance/development of water sources, and habitat restoration projects may be delayed or prohibited, impeding the state’s ability to meet its trust responsibilities and diminishing Arizona’s wildlife management authorities. Designation also allows federal monument managers to make management of wildlife resources a secondary concern to maintaining “solitude, “naturalness,” and other characteristics associated with national parks and wilderness areas.

The proposed monument includes some of the most socially and economically important hunting areas in the United States, including the iconic Kaibab deer herd range, portions of the Arizona Strip that produce trophy mule deer and areas south of the Grand Canyon known for trophy bull elk. Over time, an inability to properly manage these populations and their habitats may result in decreased wildlife populations, reduced hunter opportunities, and loss of revenues that directly support conservation and Arizona communities.

Monument designation sets the stage for future, more restrictive land use allocations and designations, further impeding public access, hunting, and management flexibility. Areas within the proposed monument determined to have “wilderness characteristics” would face activity restrictions similar to wilderness designation. USFS and BLM lands within the proposed monument could be transferred to the National Park Service, in which case that agency’s narrower mission and even greater restrictions on management and recreational activities may be applied, including the prohibition of hunting. Further, national monuments in Arizona have historically been converted to national parks.

Conclusion: Unless consensus can be reached among Arizona stakeholders, dedicated funding is allocated to overcome existing and future maintenance shortfalls, traditional land uses are protected, and proactive wildlife and forest management actions can go forward unimpeded, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission remains opposed to unilateral Presidential designation of the proposed Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument.

Please contact the various government representatives below to let them know of your concern:

Representative Ann Kirkpatrick
https://kirkpatrick.house.gov/contact/email-me
201 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Representative Raul Grijalva
https://grijalva.house.gov/email-raul
1511 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Representative Ruben Gallego
https://rubengallego.house.gov/contact/email
1218 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

President Barack Obama
https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20500

The Honorable Sally Jewell
feedback@ios.doi.gov
Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C St., N.W. Washington, DC 20240

The Honorable Tom Vilsack
http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=CONTACT_US&navtype=MA
Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W. Washington, DC 20250

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Remembering Those Who Sacrificed for Us

Dear RMEF Family,

Memorial Day weekend is finally here! It marks the unofficial beginning of summer and is a time for family and friends to hit the outdoors together or gather on the back deck to enjoy each other’s company.

Memorial Day traces its roots back to the Civil War. It was designed to honor those on both sides of the conflict who died while in defense of their country.

Officially established by Congress in 1971, Memorial Day takes place the last Monday of May as a holiday to honor all Americans who died while in the military service. To them and their families, we owe our never-ending gratitude. They gave the ultimate sacrifice so we may enjoy our many freedoms today.

As an RMEF family, we have many veterans among us—both past and present. Thank you for your selfless service! Your individual and family sacrifices allow us the opportunity to live our lives the way we do today. In the case of the RMEF, it allows us continue our work together to ensure the future of elk, elk country and out hunting heritage.

Enjoy your holiday weekend and please take some time to remember what it’s all about.

Sincerely,





M. David Allen
President and CEO 


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Happy Mother's Day

Dear RMEF Family,

This is a special weekend for many of us. It’s an opportunity to say “thank you” to our mothers.

The idea of Mother’s Day dates back to the early 20th century. President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation in 1914 creating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our mothers. They helped teach, guide and transform us into the type of men and women that we are today. 

We have many mothers dedicated to ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage throughout the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. In this day and age where more women are getting out in the field, we recognize that current and future mothers are the fastest growing segment of hunters in North America. We salute them for their enthusiasm, passion and dedication.

So if you have plans to hit your favorite fishing hole, grill up some elk tenderloin on the barbecue or just spend time with mom and the rest of the family, we say thank you mothers for all you do.

Respectfully,





David Allen
RMEF President/CEO

Monday, May 11, 2015

Help on the Way for Elk Habitat, Research in Washington

Below is a complete listing of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s 2015 grants for the state of Washington. Find more information here.

Asotin County—As a part of Asotin County’s proactive weed control, treat 225 acres of invasive weed populations across public and private land before they become established; and apply noxious weed treatment to 1,550 acres within the Blue Mountains Wildlife Area Complex to improve yearlong elk range conditions to meet elk herd management objectives (also affects Garfield and Columbia Counties). 

Chelan County—Restore 104 acres by planting trees in a clear cut area to improve cover and habitat quality for the Colockum elk herd while reducing soil erosion and improving water quality within the 4,000+ acre Stemilt Partnership acquisition, which RMEF provided financial, administrative and other professional assistance to acquire and convey into public ownership.

Columbia County—Reinforce existing two decade-old road closures in the Chase Mountain area on the Umatilla National Forest by placing boulders to provide security on 1,800 acres of elk habitat and calving areas while also paying for seed and biochar for the road bed. 

Cowlitz County—Apply lime and fertilizer to 150 acres of existing forage management areas and seed 40 acres where desirable plant cover is low to maintain quality winter range for 600-800 elk on the Mount St. Helens Wildlife Area. RMEF volunteers will plant trees and shrubs on an additional 10 acres to aid in erosion control on the Toutle River floodplain; and apply herbicide treatments to 150 acres on a combination of U.S. Forest Service and state lands with a goal of containing and/or eradicating isolated populations of mouse-ear hawkweed.

Garfield County—Burn 2,685 acres within the broader Asotin Creek Prescribed Fire Project area to restore native grasslands and improve wildlife forage. To ensure the establishment of native grasses, 435 acres will be aerially seeded after the burn on a landscape that is a summer, winter and calving area for elk as well as range for bighorn sheep. 

Okanogan County—Burn 804 acres of the Okanogan Highlands on the Chesaw Wildlife Area that was previously thinned to increase forage for an expanding elk herd.

Pend Oreille County—Burn 200 acres of shrubfield and Douglas fir parkland along with 17 acres at an old homestead meadow site on the Colville National Forest to improve forage and woody browse species for big game. Herbicide will be spot-applied over two years within the meadow to control noxious weeds; and install a series of high, earthen berms and create a visual screen and barrier with native plantings to block illegal OHV use on road closures that were specifically intended to improve habitat security for elk on winter range on the Newport-Sullivan Ranger District including the Bead Lake, Yocum Lake, Small Creek and Graham Creek drainages on the Colville National Forest.

Skamania County—Provide funding for continuing research to address the interaction of forage availability and nutritional quality on the elk population within the Mt. St. Helens eruption blast zone on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest compared to state and federal land outside the zone. The results provide a foundation for evaluating forest management, predicting future habitat condition trends and a basis for elk population management in the area; and continue herbicide treatments on 125 acres of meadows providing important summer forage for the Mount St. Helens elk herd (also affects Klickitat County).

Stevens County—Burn approximately 1,130 acres in a mix of areas on the Colville National Forest that are naturally opened and areas that have been recently thinned to improve forage on year-round elk habitat.

Yakima County—Seed 820 acres with grasses, forbs and sagebrush to restore habitat for elk and other wildlife within the Cottonwood 2 Wildfire area that burned nearly 9,000 acres of winter range in 2014 (also affects Kittitas County); and improve crucial winter range forage on the Oak Creek Wildlife Area by applying herbicides to 300 acres on the Sanford Pasture where more than 500 elk winter.

Partners for the Washington projects include the Colville, Gifford Pinchot and Umatilla National Forests, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, private landowners and various sportsmen, wildlife, civic, and government organizations.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Honoring Our Mothers

Dear RMEF Family,

This is a special weekend for many of us. It’s an opportunity to say “thank you” to our mothers.

The idea of Mother’s Day dates back to the early 20th century. President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation in 1914 creating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our mothers. They helped teach, guide and transform us into the type of men and women that we are today. 

We have many mothers dedicated to ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage throughout the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. In this day and age where more women are getting out in the field, we recognize that current and future mothers are the fastest growing segment of hunters in North America. We salute them for their enthusiasm, passion and dedication.

So if you have plans to hit your favorite fishing hole, grill up some elk tenderloin on the barbecue or just spend time with mom and the rest of the family, we say thank you mothers for all you do.

Respectfully,





David Allen
RMEF President/CEO



Monday, May 4, 2015

Here’s to Mom

Pink RMEF swoosh decal
May 10, 2015, marks the 101st anniversary of Mother’s Day. It was 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating the second Sunday in May as a national holiday to honor our mothers. (Watch a video about the history of Mother’s Day here.)

Mother’s Day celebrates the role that mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, stepmothers, foster mothers and all other mother figures play in our lives. 

Do you have anything special in mind for mom on Mother’s Day? Perhaps a heartfelt, handwritten letter? Maybe a picnic in the park, a card, some flowers or a family hike in the hills? Whatever the recognition or activity, mothers deserve the best. 

Here are some suggestions to honor mom this Mother’s Day thanks to your friends at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (and they're not all pink either).

Under Armour women's Ayton fleece jacket 
Under Armour women's performance camo pant




















Buck Bantham BHW






Sterling silver medium elk antler earrings
      Ladies Grapevine tee                            Ladies camo & turquoise cap                   CamelBak chute 0.75L water bottle    



Go here to shop RMEF's Elk Country Trading Post.