MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation worked with two conservation-minded families to permanently protect more than 2,300 acres of prime elk habitat in central Colorado.
“We appreciate the Mancuso and Ross families for recognizing the important conservation values of their land and reaching out to us to help permanently protect them,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO.
The 579-acre Burris Mountain and 1,765-acre Antelope Valley properties are located southwest of Colorado Springs between Canon City and Salida. These land projects represent RMEF’s fifth and sixth in Fremont County.
“These two conservation easements are especially important because the properties provide crucial winter range for elk and mule deer as well as a wildlife corridor between adjacent public lands,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “The acreage also lies within the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area and is considered high priority because of its proximity to the Arkansas River and tributary headwaters.”
The ranches contain a variety of habitat types including mountain grasslands, rock outcroppings, aspen, pinyon-juniper and ponderosa pine woodlands as well as wet meadows. Several waterways flow through the properties toward the Arkansas River to the south thus providing vital riparian habitat for an array of bird and animal life.
In addition to protecting the headwater properties of the Arkansas River and water resources downstream, the project also has links to Colorado’s historic cattlemen. Dating back to the mid to late 1800s, they homesteaded this area and used the range to establish herds and conduct cattle drives.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 227,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.3 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science- based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is ConservationTM” at www.rmef.org, elknetwork.com or 800- CALL ELK.