A Trilogy of Highlights for Oregon Volunteers
Our alphabetical state-by-state spotlight on RMEF volunteers stops off in Oregon
There are many examples highlighting how Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation volunteers give of their energy, time and talents. The most visible happens annually when volunteers plan and host big game banquets across the country that raise critical funding for RMEF’s mission. Below are just three examples of other ways volunteers help ensure the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage in Oregon.
In November 2023, RMEF and its partners checked off one of the largest landscape-scale conservation accomplishments in recent organization history with the closing of the Minam River project in the northeast part of the state. More than 15,500 acres of quality wildlife and riparian habitat are now conserved, protected and opened to the public.
Phase one of the project closed in 2021, but not even six months later RMEF volunteers climbed the property with work gloves, chainsaws and smiles to help clear a one-mile section of the historic Minam River Trail. They also removed more than half a mile of old fencing to open the way for elk, deer and other wildlife.
“I hope we can come back year after year and keep improving this landscape. Oregon has the volunteers to tackle this project. We’re proud that it’s here in our state,” says Rex Walters, Oregon state chair.
RMEF supplied funding (generated by its volunteers at RMEF banquets) to enhance 160 acres of high mountain shrub and meadow habitat on the Diamond Lake District of the Umatilla National Forest. Crews removed old growth shrubs and small conifers to restore wildlife openings and improve forage for Roosevelt elk, blacktail deer and other wildlife. And from the looks of it (see photo below), the elk seem to like it.
RMEF volunteers took the reins as lead brand for the fourth annual All Hands All Brands public lands campout and work party in June of 2023. Sixty-eight volunteers from RMEF and other conservation and hunter groups worked together in teams to build 68 beaver dam analogs along Grays Prairie. The small, man-made structures mimic natural beaver dams by ponding water and decreasing stream temperatures, thus creating immediate habitat for beavers to move up the valley. The bottom line is the work helps restore riparian habitat in the Ochoco Mountains. And that’s good news for elk, mule deer and many other wildlife species as well as hunters and RMEF volunteers.
(Photo credit: Mark Allard)