Landscape Stewardship Awards - 2018

L-R: BLM/RMEF National Liaison Linda Cardenas, BLM Western District Manager Rick Hotaling, Kemp Conn PLF representative and retired BLM Deputy Assistant Director - Lands and Resources, RMEF President/CEO Kyle Weaver, RMEF Director of Lands Jennifer Doherty, RMEF Senior Lands Program Manager Mike Mueller. Photo courtesy of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

The Public Lands Foundation presents the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation with its 2018 Landscape Stewardship Award and this Citation.  The Foundation grants this recognition to honor private citizens and organizations that work to advance and sustain community-based stewardship on landscapes that include, in whole or in part, public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management.

One of the primary tenants of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s (RMEF) mission is to secure and improve public access. Since 1984, RMEF has directly facilitated improved public access and administrative access to more than 1.2 million acres of elk habitat across the country for hunters, hikers, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy. RMEF has been a long-time leader in enhancing public access through strategic land acquisitions and easements, and continually seeks innovative ways to enhance hunter opportunities by working with State and federal agencies, private landowners, corporations and non-governmental organizations and partners.

The achievement and effects of RMEF’s contribution has motivated a ground-swell of support and interest in access. With RMEF’s unique niche as a grass-roots, member-driven organization, RMEF has made a measurable impact as a passionate advocate, working from the ground up to champion access and habitat improvement projects across the country.

In the Montana/Dakotas BLM area of responsibility, the contributions and local connections RMEF has invested in public lands is staggering. Over the past 20 years, RMEF spear-headed five lands projects conveying 14,015 acres to the BLM; enhancing/improving access to over 56,000 acres of public lands. RMEF substantially invests in Habitat Projects/Land Protection with Montana/Dakotas BLM. RMEF and the BLM partnered on more than 60 habitat projects, which directly benefited over 80,000 acres of elk and other big game habitat. These lands provide habitat to a diverse array of species. The entire value of the “portfolio” investment to Montana/Dakotas BLM is over eight million dollars.

RMEF, in coordination with the BLM, strategically analyzes the potential to acquire smaller parcels that open access to larger blocks of public lands, thereby exponentially adding to the value of their efforts. In particular, the Public Lands Foundation recognizes the effort of Mike Mueller, RMEF Senior Land Manager, for this approach. This paid off recently when Mike, working with Havre Field Office Manager, Stanley Jaynes, acquired a 93-acre parcel which opened access to 6,000 acres in the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument.

The Public Lands Foundation is pleased to present the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation with its 2018 Landscape Stewardship Award and this Citation for invaluable contributions to the stewardship of America’s public landscapes.

Edward Shepard
September 14, 2018