20090822_RockyMnt_processMISSOULA, Mont.—While most Americans were consumed with year-end tallies of bank failures, health care bills and morons trying to blow up their underwear, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation was busy closing out a year of conservation successes featuring 458 completed projects that conserved or enhanced over 132,000 acres of elk country.

Other RMEF highlights from 2009 included 5 percent growth in membership, record levels of philanthropic gifts and finishing the fiscal year with budget-positive black ink.

“In spite of a rough year for the economy and many other distractions, our volunteers continued to lean into the harness, accomplishing great things for elk, other wildlife and hunters, and setting the stage for continued success,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “I’m proud that our organization provided some of the best news of 2009.”

Land conservation projects, such as acquisitions and transfers that added to accessible public-land systems in Washington, Oregon and South Dakota, impacted 21,785 acres. Habitat enhancement projects like prescribed burning, treating weeds and thinning forest, nearly all on public lands, touched another 110,287 acres. Total acres: 132,070.

Also in 2009, RMEF-funded education initiatives reached out to 4.5 million youths and adults in 44 states with positive messages about hunting and conservation.

Other top RMEF headlines for 2009:

•    Celebrated RMEF’s 25th anniversary
•    Granted more than $2 million for habitat enhancement projects in 20 states
•    Passed the 585,000-acre all-time mark for lands opened or secured for public hunting
•    Celebrated Tennessee’s first elk hunt in 144 years, following herd restoration efforts
•    Helped launch a 10,000-acre project to secure habitat and access in Washington
•    Filed legal briefs urging delisting and state-regulated hunting of wolves
•    Launched a multi-year project to restore 10,000 acres of aspen habitat in California
•    Conveyed 850 acres of Ladd Marsh habitat to Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
•    Completed a pipeline project to deliver water to parched wildlife habitat in Arizona
•    Conveyed over 3,700 acres of elk habitat to the State of Alaska
•    Launched a multi-year project to enhance thousands of acres of habitat in Arkansas
•    Conveyed 235 acres of habitat in Goshute Canyon Wilderness to the BLM in Nevada
•    Conserved over 1,000 acres of elk habitat in the Black Hills of South Dakota
•    Conveyed 120 acres of elk habitat to the U.S. Forest Service in Wisconsin
•    Funded $2.4 million for Elk Country Visitor Center in Pennsylvania
•    Conserved over 1,000 acres of elk habitat and received conservation easement certification in Colorado

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 5.7 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.