The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) is the recipient of the Boone and Crockett Club's third Conservation and Stewardship Award. The award is given annually to the organization or entity that best exemplifies excellence in conservation and wildlife and land stewardship - core values of the Boone and Crockett Club and its founder, Theodore Roosevelt.
Two of the Foundation's founders, Bob Munson and Charlie Decker were recognized at a dinner hosted by the Club in Spokane, Washington as part of the 82nd North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference.
RMEF was founded in 1984 in Montana with the mission to protect and enhance America's most vital elk country and promote stewardship that benefits a wide range of wildlife. To date, the conservation group has helped conserve 7.1 million acres and completed more than 10,000 conservation, education and hunting heritage projects across 49 states and eight provinces. When the group began, there were approximately 550,000 elk in North America. Today, there are more than one million wild elk in 28 states.
"Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is a consummate example of hunters who conserve," said Tom Price, chairman of the Club's Habitat and Multiple Use/Sharing Committee. "They have become one of the most effective and efficient species conservation groups in the U.S. Thanks to their efforts, wild, free-ranging populations of majestic elk have been restored to historic ranges in Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada. They are certainly deserving of this honor."
Along with securing, protecting and enhancing elk habitat, RMEF has tirelessly worked to expand public access to wild places. The group works with federal and state agencies, private landowners, conservation groups, corporations, foundations and local stakeholders to gain public access to hundreds of thousands of acres of previously unreachable land. The group also grants funds for conservation, stewardship and hunting heritage projects across North America.
"We are truly honored to receive this recognition," said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. "It is a tribute to the hard work and sacrifice of Bob and Charlie and their wives during RMEF's early days. It's also a reflection of the continuing efforts of our dedicated volunteers and members as well as a reminder that although we have already carried out significant on-the-ground work in elk country, there is still much more to do."