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MISSOULA, Mont.—Springtime, when elk calves are born on the lush, sun-dappled slopes of Groundhog Mountain near Delores, Colo., will always be a special tribute to the late Dale and Lois Ives.

Through a planned gift to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Ives have enabled a new conservation easement on Groundhog Mountain. The recently completed easement is now protecting over 4,000 acres of elk calving and summer range from future subdivision and development.

“Dale and Lois lived in the area, so their conservation spirit has become a true legacy on the landscape they loved,” said David Allen, Elk Foundation president and CEO.

Using the Ives’ gift, the Elk Foundation provided vital funding for the easement held by the Montezuma Land Conservancy of Cortez, Colo. The easement permanently protects wildlife and family heritage values on the historic Brumley Ranch.

The ranch, 4,119 acres owned by the Brumley family since the early 1900s, is a working sheep and cattle operation. The property lifts from 8,600 feet at the eastern shore of Groundhog Reservoir to 10,600 feet on the flanks of Groundhog Mountain. Groundhog, Nash and Little Fish creeks provide important spawning areas for cutthroat trout. Aspen, spruce, fir, chokecherry and mixed shrubs, along with expansive native grasslands, are a haven for wildlife, especially large herds of elk that calve on the ranch.

Wilson Brumley described what he hoped to accomplish with the easement: “Much of the land surrounding the ranch has been chopped up, subdivided and otherwise degraded, in our opinion. It has always been our endeavor to preserve the natural characteristics, utility and scenic aspects of this ranch and to prevent any division of this land.”

The Ives’ gift helped make the Brumley’s wish a reality, perpetually supports the region’s elk herd and keeps unbroken this wild corner of Colorado.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

Snowy peaks, dark timber basins and grassy meadows. RMEF is leading an elk country initiative that has already conserved or enhanced habitat on over 5.4 million acres—a land area equivalent to a swath three miles wide and stretching along the entire Continental Divide from Canada to Mexico. Most work occurs on public lands. More than 570,000 acres have been opened or secured for public access including hunting, fishing and other recreation. Get involved at www.rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.