|MISSOULA, Mont. — Thirty-nine years after four elk hunters founded a small, hunter-based conservation organization, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is financially strong and coming off a banner year of accomplishment.|
In 2022, RMEF volunteers hosted hundreds of banquets and other events that generated record revenue for the mission. As a result, RMEF collaborated with its partners to put millions of dollars on the ground to help protect more than 91,000 acres of wildlife habitat, open or improve public access to nearly 117,000 acres, and supply funding for scientific research, wildlife management and scores of hunting heritage efforts.
“The best way to honor our founders and the sacrifices they made so many years ago is to have a strategic focus to do even more to ensure the future of elk, mule deer, moose and so many other wildlife species as well as wildlife habitat, hunting and conservation,” said Fred Lekse, RMEF Board of Directors chair. “Looking back, that is what we have done organizationally and looking forward, that is what we’ll continue to do.”
Since RMEF’s establishment on May 14, 1984, the North America elk population grew from 550,000 to greater than 1.1 million today. RMEF helped conserve or enhance more than 8.6 million acres of elk habitat while completing nearly 14,000 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects. RMEF also opened or improved access to more than 1.5 million acres while helping restore wild, free-ranging elk to six states and one Canadian province.