Arkansas Elk Habitat Improved Via RMEF Grants

MISSOULA, Mont.—More than 10,400 acres of public land in Arkansas have been enhanced for wildlife as part of a slate of conservation and education projects receiving funding by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation in 2010.

Two habitat projects affected the Ozark National Forest and Buffalo National River in Marion, Newton and Searcy counties. Two education projects had statewide interest.

Together, the grants from RMEF totaled $49,680.

“These grants were possible because of the successful banquets and fundraisers staged by our Arkansas volunteers—most of whom are elk hunters as well as devoted conservationists,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Since 1984, our annual grants have helped complete 66 different projects in Arkansas with a combined value of more than $3.3 million.”

RMEF grants for 2010 helped fund the following projects:

Bearcat Hollow Forage Enhancement—In Newton and Searcy counties, RMEF funds helped create 46 acres of forest openings to improve vegetative diversity and forage for elk and other species in the Ozark National Forest. This was the third year of this ongoing initiative.

Buffalo National River Habitat Enhancement—In Marion, Newton and Searcy counties, RMEF funds helped with prescribe burning and treating invasive and non-native plants to improve 10,402 acres of habitat for elk on public lands. This was the tenth year of this ongoing initiative.

Hope Outdoors Events—RMEF funds provided sponsorship for Hope Outdoors, which annually organizes hunting and fishing adventures for physically challenged citizens of Arkansas. The program, which caters to both youths and adults, also teaches hunting safety, ethics and skills.

Youth Hunter Education Challenge—RMEF funds provided 2010 sponsorships and support for this annual program that offers Arkansas youths a chance to compete in shooting sports, orienteering, wildlife identification, hunter ethics and responsibilities, and elk calling.

Habitat projects were selected for grants using science-based criteria and a committee of RMEF volunteers and staff along with representatives from partnering agencies and universities. A committee of RMEF field staff and volunteers selected education projects.

Partners for 2010 projects in Arkansas included the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, other organizations and landowners.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Snowy peaks, dark timber basins and grassy meadows. RMEF is leading an elk country initiative that has conserved or enhanced habitat on over 5.8 million acres—a land area equivalent to a swath three miles wide and stretching along the entire Continental Divide from Canada to Mexico. RMEF also works to open, secure and improve public access for hunting, fishing and other recreation. Get involved at www.rmef.orgr or 800-CALL ELK.

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