Elk NetworkColorado Elk Migration Corridor Conserved, Public Access Expanded

News Releases | April 1, 2024

MISSOULA, Mont. — A key chunk of elk and mule deer habitat that also serves as a migration corridor is now conserved and opened to the public in southwest Colorado.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation worked with a family to acquire and then simultaneously convey a 160-acre inholding to the San Juan National Forest.

“This would not have happened without the conservation vision, ethic and passion of the Saunders family that resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We salute and thank them as well as our San Juan National Forest partners for working together to conserve this important landscape,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO.

The transaction will improve habitat management, public access in an important hunting and recreation area, forest planning and wildlife management for the U.S. Forest Service (USFS).

“Conserving land in the public trust is at the core of the Forest Service mission,” said Dave Neely, Forest Supervisor for the San Juan National Forest. “With the invaluable assistance from our partners at RMEF, this acquisition enhances that conservation mission for current and future generations.”

Found on the shoulder of scenic V Rock Mountain southeast of Pagosa Springs, and less than two miles from the South San Juan Wilderness, the property features aspen stands, mountain meadows, scattered ponderosa pine and mixed conifer forests, two ponds and intermittent streams. As such, it supplies vital summer and winter range habitat for many wildlife species and serves as an elk migration corridor.

The USFS utilized Land and Water Conservation Fund funding to complete the project.

RMEF carried out extensive conservation work in this part of the state over the years and holds four voluntary conservation agreements protecting 12,119 acres of wildlife habitat just 10 miles to the south of V Rock Mountain.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

Founded in 1984 and fueled by hunters, RMEF has conserved more than 8.9 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.