MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has recorded its 6 millionth acre of habitat protected or enhanced for elk and other wildlife.
How much is 6 million acres?
- 9,375 square miles
- Larger than Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Glacier, Yosemite, Rocky Mountain and Great Smoky Mountains national parks combined
- Larger than 12 Great Smoky Mountains National Parks, or six Glacier National Parks
- Lined up end to end, 6 million square acres would wrap around Earth’s equator 9-1/2 times
- 33 acres per RMEF member
- Average impact of 608 acres per day throughout RMEF’s 27-year history
“Six million acres is an amazing amount of conservation success in a relatively short amount of time,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Of course, it wouldn’t have happened without money, time and talent. That’s where our partners, volunteers, members, supporters and banquet attendees come in, and this is a significant milestone we can all celebrate together.”
The 6 million-acre total includes 1 million acres of permanent land protection projects. Examples include RMEF land acquisitions transferred to state or federal management agencies to secure habitat and public access in perpetuity. Also included is 5 million acres of habitat stewardship projects, such as prescribe burning, forest thinning and management, weed control, water improvement and many other projects, mostly on public lands.
The official 6 millionth acre recorded was part of an RMEF-funded 560-acre prescribed burn at Devil’s Canyon on BLM lands near Cody, Wyo.
Devil’s Canyon happens to represent several elements of RMEF mission. In 1998, when Devil’s Canyon Ranch owners closed a road crossing their property—the only road accessing 20,000 acres of public land beyond—RMEF joined with partners to purchase the 11,179-acre ranch and reopen access for public recreation including hunting. RMEF contributed to the acquisition then, and today continues to help enhance the area’s habitat through prescribed burns, forest thinning, invasive weed treatments and more.
The mission of RMEF is to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife and their habitat.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Snowy peaks, dark timber basins and grassy meadows. RMEF is leading an elk country initiative that has conserved or enhanced habitat on over 6 million acres—a land area equivalent to a swath three miles wide and stretching along the entire Continental Divide from Canada to Mexico. RMEF also works to open, secure and improve public access for hunting, fishing and other recreation. Get involved at www.rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.