RENO, Nev.—Elk Camp 2010, which concluded March 7 in Reno, Nev., set the tone, direction and fundraising base to position the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation for a big year in habitat conservation, officials say.

On the strength of $1.45 million in auction proceeds and an Elk Camp record for new memberships (preliminary figures show 2,867 members joined or renewed during the event), RMEF wrapped up its 26th Annual Elk Camp & Hunting, Fishing and Outdoor Expo with gross fundraising topping $2.75 million. Those dollars will help support the organization’s initiatives to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife and their habitat.

RMEF recently topped 5.7 million acres conserved or enhanced, but RMEF President and CEO David Allen says the conservation to-do list in elk country is growing longer, not shorter.

“There was such great spirit at Elk Camp, you couldn’t help but get pumped up about where we’ve been and where we’re going. Habitat loss continues to chip away at the wild places relished by elk and elk hunters, but our volunteers, supporters and staff are headed home from Reno with a renewed sense of urgency and purpose and commitment to make a difference,” said Allen.

He added, “In many ways, Elk Camp is the official kickoff to our year, and after these past four days, I’m anticipating a great 2010.”

Other Elk Camp highlights included:

  • •    RMEF launch of the Dale Earnhardt Land/Wildlife Legacy.
  • •    First-ever live coverage of the RMEF/Leupold World Elk Calling Championships on ESPN Outdoors.com.
  • •    New world champion elk callers including Joel Turner of Eatonville, Wash., who won his second title in the Professional Division.
  • •    RMEF’s highest honor, the Wallace Fennell Pate Wildlife Conservation Award, went to Walker S. “Buddy” Smith, Jr. and wife Tammy Lynne Smith of Great Falls, Mont.
  • •    Numerous awards and recognitions for RMEF volunteers and supporters.
  • •    Good day-traffic in the expo hall with numerous attendees booking hunting trips.
  • •    Entertainment by comedian Jim Gaffigan and country stars Neal McCoy and Sara Evans.

News releases on these and other headlines are posted at www.rmef.org .

Event sponsors included Roper, Leupold, Cabela’s, Gerber, Hunter’s Specialties, Midway USA, Mossy Oak, North American Hunter Magazine, Browning and Budweiser.

Allen said, “We can’t say thank you enough to our sponsors, exhibitors and attendees for their continuing support. Together, we’re helping to shape the future of elk country.”

The 27th Annual Elk Camp and Expo will be in Reno, Nev., March 3-6, 2011.

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.