Elk NetworkAccess Expanded, Habitat Protected in Montana’s Elkhorn Mountains

General | September 9, 2021

Below is a news release from the U.S. Forest Service.

An additional 1,418 acres of land is now available for public enjoyment and habitat protection in the southern Elkhorn Mountains. The recently acquired three parcels of land were among the largest remaining private inholdings of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest and the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest.

“The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF), Montana Fish & Wildlife Conservation Trust (MFWCT), Montana’s Outdoor Legacy Foundation (MOLF) partnered with landowners to acquire the property,” said RMEF Senior Lands Program Manager Mike Mueller. “The land will provide year-round and winter habitat for elk, as well as habitat for deer, bears, wolves, moose, mountain lions, ferruginous hawks, and a variety of grassland birds.”

MFWCT provided funding for this project using its Assets for Conservation Program. This program expands the capabilities of the Trust to facilitate the timely protection of key properties that are determined to be critical for the conservation and enhancement of Montana’s fish and wildlife resources and for the expansion of public recreational access opportunities.

“The South Elkhorn Project was the first project funded using the new Assets for Conservation Program,” said MOLF Executive Director Mitch King. “It was a great opening act, and all of the partners are looking for the next opportunity.”

The U.S. Forest Service subsequently acquired the property from MFWCT with Land and Water Conservation Funding. At an elevation of 7,000 feet, the property consists of rolling mountains and mountain foothill habitat with a combination of timbered areas and mountain sagebrush and grassland habitat. The East Fork of Dry Creek, Turman Creek, Sand Creek, and Dahlman Gulch flow through the property and contribute to valuable riparian areas and meadow complexes.

(Photo source: U.S. Forest Service)