The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission gave final approval to phase II of the landscape-scale Minam River Acquisition in northeast Oregon.
“What a gift to Oregon and a testament to the hard work of many partners,” said Commissioner Hatfield Hyde. “And thank you for keeping it a working landscape which means a lot to the local community.”
A collaborative effort between the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Manulife Investment Management’s timberland business and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the combined phase I (already completed) and phase II will conserve and open public access to 15,573 acres of wildlife and riparian habitat for elk, mule deer, birds, fish and other species about 30 miles northeast of La Grande.
The Minam River Acquisition is a two-phase effort comprised of 15,573 acres that serve as a gateway to the Wallowa Mountains and link the Minam River Wildlife Area and Minam State Recreational Area to the 361,000-acre Eagle Cap Wilderness. It also improves public access for hunting, fishing and other recreational activity to an additional 6,000 acres of U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands.
The primary funding will come from RMEF private donations ($3.5M) and a USDA Forest Legacy Program grant ($9.7M). As with other state wildlife areas, ODFW will pay fire protection fees and “in-lieu” of property taxes on the property to maintain county tax revenue.
The project is on schedule to close later in 2023.
Click here to see photos, videos, maps and more project details.
(Photo credit: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)