MISSOULA, Mont. — Nearly four decades after fighting through humble and challenging circumstances, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation stands as the preeminent organization focused on ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.
“We recognize and revere our founders, and their supportive families, who had an inspired vision and took action to organize and establish this great conservation movement,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO.
Four northwest Montana elk hunters with meager means pinched their pennies and formed RMEF on May 14, 1984. At the time, there were approximately 550,000 elk in North America. Today, there are more than 1.1 million including wild, free-ranging elk in 28 different states.
“We never would have or could have imagined that such a simple idea would evolve into so much conservation accomplishment across the country. It truly is a tremendous blessing,” said Charlie Decker, RMEF co-founder.
“The growth we’ve experienced as an organization has been phenomenal,” said Mark Baker, RMEF Board of Directors chair. “Thanks to our volunteers, members, sponsors and other supporters, we look to a future with strategic direction in furthering our mission to carry out the greatest beneficial impact possible for elk, conservation and hunting.”
To date, RMEF conserved or enhanced nearly 8.4 million acres of habitat, opened or improved access to more than 1.4 million acres, helped restore elk to their historic range in seven states and continues to advocate for natural resource and wildlife management as well as accumulating the latest in elk-related science, among other mission priorities.
“Today’s challenges are much different than in the mid-1980s including massive developmental sprawl, shrinking public access opportunity in many places, spreading wildlife disease and continual challenges questioning hunting and the outdoor lifestyle. Going forward, we will remain both a doer and a strong voice for advocacy on these and other fronts,” added Weaver.
Founded 38 years ago and fueled by hunters, RMEF maintains more than 225,000 members and has conserved nearly 8.4 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.