Bright August sunshine beamed down on a small group of partners beneath the Humbolt Mountains of northeast Nevada who gathered to celebrate a big conservation accomplishment. In December 2022, private landowners (EFM Investments & Advisory), the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) and Nevada Division of State Lands (NDSL), collaborated with additional funding partners to complete the Pole Canyon project, conserving more than 12,000 acres of migratory habitat for elk and mule deer.
“This is a big win for migrating wildlife, hunters and the private property owner’s conservation and management goals,” said Jenn Doherty, RMEF director of lands & access “This project emulates the best conservation strategies in western big game migration work. RMEF is grateful for our partners at the State of Nevada and NFWF which prioritize conservation of critical wildlife migration areas.”
RMEF presented Elk Country Partnership Awards (left to right in the above photo) to NDOW’s newly named Deputy Director Caleb McAdoo, NFWF Rocky Mountains Conservation Program Manager Daley Burns and NDSL Deputy Administrator Ellery Stahler in recognition of the vital roles they played in a conservation success that positively affects wildlife and public recreation for generations to come.
“The Pole Canyon project protects some of Nevada’s finest habitat, not only for species like deer and elk, but for species like Himilayan snowcock, pika, Rocky Mountain goats and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep,” said McAdoo. “We are beyond grateful for the perseverance of all of our partners working with us to complete this complex project after nearly 8 years in the making.”
“Partnerships are the key to achieving meaningful conservation results,” said Chris West, NFWF Rocky Mountain regional director. “The Pole Canyon project is a great example of a partnership between private landowners, state wildlife management agencies and conservation groups. NFWF is proud to be a part of this effort and would like to thank our funding partner Microsoft for their contribution to conserving this vital habitat.”
The project did not end with the signing of a voluntary conservation agreement by the private landowners, EFM Investments & Advisory, to protect the wildlife values of its land. In 2023, the private landowner and the same group of partners went to work to create a new public access site. The route is flanked by private land and guides the public to more than 15,000 acres of premium public land for hunting, fishing and other recreational activities.
(Photo credit: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)