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

Thursday, January 28, 2016

RMEF, Partners Recognized for Conservation Work

Leanne Marten, Regional Forester for the Northern Region of the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) recently recognized and honored USFS employees and partners –the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Tenderfoot Trust and Bair Ranch Foundation– for their conservation work with a Region 1 Regional Forester’s Honor Award.

The Conserving Open Space award recognized those involved for their efforts in protecting undeveloped forests, grasslands, working farms, ranches and timberlands from conversion to other uses. Specifically, the recipients were honored for their work on the Tenderfoot Project in central Montana.

Below is a synopsis of the award from the USFS.

Conserving Open Space
Through a collaborative effort, 8,220 acres of forested lands along Tenderfoot Creek within the Smith River watershed in Montana were secured for recreation, resource protection, and efficient management of National Forest System lands. These former Northern Pacific Railroad lands were interspersed checker board style with land in the National Forest System. 

This project took six years to complete. Due to the efforts of the Tenderfoot Trust and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF), this purchase received the support of Montana Senators Baucus, Tester and Daines. The Bair Ranch Foundation had held the former railroad lands in trust. They are to be commended for their patience.

Outcomes and accomplishments:
Acquisition of these lands meets the goals and objectives of the Forest Service Strategic Plan and Forest Land and Resource Management Plans on many levels. The acquisition connects to a larger network of recreational opportunities in linking to existing trail systems and securing public access. This project further strengthens Montana's vast outdoor recreation economy. In addition to recreational benefits, consolidating public and private ownership contributes to the agency's overall efforts for improved forest management, treatment of invasive species, fire prevention, improved local economies, and wildlife conservation by preventing further habitat fragmentation from development.

Two items were unique to this transaction: RMEF secured five percent of the value in grants and donated funds, providing the United States a bargain sale overall; and The Bair Ranch Foundation will donate five percent of their net profit to the Forest Service for forest management in the Tenderfoot watershed.

The Tenderfoot project is a Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and partnership success story.

Congratulations to:
Bob Dennee, Team Leader, ESLZ Team Leader and Project Manager (retired), Forest Service
Kim Lange, ESLZ Title Examiner (retired), Forest Service
Carol Hatfield, White Sulphur Springs District Ranger, Lewis & Clark National Forest, Forest Service
Bill Avey, Forest Supervisor, Lewis & Clark National Forest, Forest Service
Kimball Frome, Region One, Senior Review Appraiser, Forest Service
Janné Joy, Region One, Land Acquisition Program Manager, Forest Service
Robin Edwards, Region One, Regional Title Program Manager, Forest Service
Mark Lodine, Office of General Counsel
Wayne Hirsch, The Bair Ranch Foundation
Glen Hough, The Bair Ranch Foundation
Butch Marita, Tenderfoot Trust
Ernie Nunn, Tenderfoot Trust
Mitch Godfrey, Tenderfoot Trust
Mike Mueller, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
Grant Parker, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
Ron Marcoux, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (retired)

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