December 4, 2013
RMEF Conserves 3,329 acres of ‘Best of the Best’ Wyoming Elk Country
MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation worked with conservation-minded landowners, who are long-time RMEF members, to permanently protect 3,329 acres of critical elk habitat along the eastern front of Wyoming's Laramie Range.
“This transaction not only protects high wildlife habitat values and thwarts the potential threat of increasing development, but it's also the first conservation easement in Platte County,” said Blake Henning, RMEF vice president of Lands and Conservation. “The location is significant since subdivisions are in the works less than five miles away. This action may encourage nearby landowners to consider conservation over development as they go forward.”
“Conservation easements can play a key role with willing landowners in conserving the ‘best of the best,'” said Ryan Amundson, habitat extension biologist for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. “This property is one of those key properties.”
Located adjacent to the Medicine Bow National Forest, Bureau of Land Management land and State land, the acreage also provides vital year-round forage, water and shelter for mule and white-tailed deer, pronghorn and other wildlife. The easement also provides connectivity of the public lands and contiguous habitat between summer and winter ranges.
Cottonwood Creek and its tributaries meander through the property creating riparian corridors with cottonwood galleries transitioning to mixed grass prairie and shrub-steppe habitat.
“The open ridges, in combination with the Wheatland area's famous winds, provide open foraging areas in winter months for all these mentioned species,” added Amundson. “Thank you to RMEF for your efforts in keeping agricultural lands and important wildlife habitats intact in southeastern Wyoming.”