Sponsored by Yeti
Imagine a sweeping mountainous landscape that offers habitat for elk and other wildlife that’s undergoing a long-term facelift of sorts.
Welcome to northwest Wyoming’s Shoshone (shuh-SHOW’-nee) National Forest, the first federally protected forest and one that lies within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
Conservation work began on the Shoshone Landscape Habitat Project when the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation committed $365,000 in 2016 for the multi-year aspen and forest restoration effort.
That funding helped leverage additional dollars from a multitude of partners including the U.S. Forest Service, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust, and Bureau of Land Management, among others.
Specific treatments across a 260,000-acre landscape include removal of encroaching conifer, prescribed burning, noxious weed control, fence removal and thinning, all to enhance aspen stands and other habitat that support more than 12,000 elk along with moose, bighorn sheep, ruffed grouse and other wildlife species.
The result is more healthy aspen stands that provide important cover, an increased amount of early seral habitat that offers improved forage, fewer invasive weeds that crowd out native vegetation, improved wildlife movement and thinned out overstocked stands that remove beetle kill and reduce the threat of catastrophic fire.
All that spells out better habitat for elk and improved hunting opportunity.
Restoring elk country is core to RMEF’s mission.
Since 1984, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and its partners completed 13,000 conservation and hunting heritage projects that protected or enhanced more than 8.1 million acres of wildlife habitat.