The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) received a giant boon in the form of a $30 million endowment from the Torstenson family.

It was the end result of years of hard work revolving around the Torstenson Wildlife Center, which was gifted to the RMEF by Bob Torstenson back in 2002. Torstenson was a life-long hunter and conservationist who bought the property before his death in 2002. The gargantuan 93,403-acre New Mexico ranch is home to deer, elk, quail, and a variety of other wildlife in a pristine landscape–and its keepers mean it to stay that way.

When Outdoor Hub reporters asked RMEF president and CEO David Allen to describe the land, he laughed and said, “Well that’s a difficult question. It’s spectacular. High deserts and mountains, prime elk habitat. Big too.”

When Torstenson discovered he had cancer, the philanthropist decided to turn over the sprawling ranch to RMEF with one task in mind: to find a conservation buyer. Over the years RMEF maintained the ranch until a recent deal was made with like-minded conservationists, netting the organization about $30 million, one of the largest endowments to a wildlife conservation group.

RMEF’s newly-filled coffers will go towards accelerating existing programs to preserve the future of elk and their habitat.

“It was two years since we first started talking to the Torstenson family about a possible deal. Frankly, the new owners are going to make it even better,” said Allen. “Because of the new funds RMEF members can also see an increase in the amount of missions we will be able to conduct each year.”

For now, the new owners seek to remain anonymous, but we were able to learn that they own several large ranches and that the RMEF leadership is confident with leaving the land in their hands.

“This is a monumental game-changer for RMEF,” Allen stated previously in a release. “Thanks to the generosity of the Torstenson family, this endowment allows RMEF to expand Bob Torstenson’s passion and vision for wildlife and conservation in ways we could have never imagined.”

Torstenson’s legacy also includes the Youth Conservation Education Center in Illinois, a 750-acre playground for kids to learn about the outdoors. Children often go to the site to hunt turkey, duck, and pheasants as well as practice archery.

Image from Ed Ogle on the flickr Creative Commons

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