When something works, you stick with it.
And when the bottom line is improved public access, a successful formula makes everyone a winner.
Within just a few months in 2020, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation completed two different projects in western Montana within about 20 miles of each other.
The result is more room to roam for hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities.
In June, RMEF worked with a family to acquire and then convey 244 acres to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP), which added it to the 56,000-acre Mount Haggin Wildlife Management Area about 10 miles south of the small town of Anaconda. In 2001, RMEF played an instrumental role in the establishment of the original WMA through the 32,000-acre Watershed project.
An important wildlife migration pathway, the immediate area also provides calving grounds in the spring, summer range and security in the fall for elk as well as streams and vital riparian habitat.
Later that fall, RMEF teamed up with another conservation-minded family to acquire and convey 612 acres of elk habitat to FWP, which enlarged the 10,000-acre Garrity Mountain Wildlife Management Area just west of Anaconda.
This landscape offers spring calving and winter elk range, plus habitat for whitetail and mule deer, moose and bighorn sheep.
The two transactions combined to open more than 800 acres to public access while improving access to adjacent public land in a popular hunting area, which has long been an area of habitat stewardship and land protection efforts by RMEF.