Contact: Ellary TuckerWilliams, Inter-Mountain Western States Coordinator
On August 27, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) hosted a dedication ceremony for the successful purchase of 442 acres of private land along Falls Creek, opening a new public access point to 26,000 acres of Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest, one mile of Falls Creek, and providing a new access point to the Dearborn River.
The 422 acres was purchased from Dan Barrett by RMEF with funds provided by the residents of Lewis and Clark County; the Land Water and Conservation Fund; and donations from businesses, organizations, and private individuals. The land was subsequently transferred over to the US Forest Service to provide permanent public access to be enjoyed in perpetuity for hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, horseback riding and non-motorized trails, as well as recreational use. Individuals involved in the process were expecting it to take 3 years to raise the necessary $2.4 million however, it only took a single year.
The ceremony was attended by approximately 185 individuals, including Bill Avey, Supervisor of Helena-Lewis and Clark Nation Forest; US Senator Steve Daines; Lieutenant Governor Mike Cooney; Erik Nylund of US Senator Jon Tester’s office; and Brett Simons from the office of Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Representative Greg Gianforte. Also, in attendance were Montana Sportsmen’s Caucus leaders Senator Jill Cohenour and Representative Matt Regier, numerous Montana Sportsmen’s Caucus Advisory Council members and Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation Inter-Mountain Western States Coordinator Ellary TuckerWilliams.
Following the access point dedication ceremony, attendees were encouraged to hike the newly dedicated trail to view the picturesque waterfall and a mountain valley overlooking the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest.
Left to right: Mike Mueller, RMEF’s Senior Lands Program Manager; Bill Avey, Supervisor of Helena-Lewis and Clark Nation Forest; US Senator Steve Daines; former land owner Dan Barrett; Lieutenant Governor Mike Cooney; Erik Nylund of US Senator Jon Tester’s office; Brett Simons from the office of Congressman Greg Gianforte; Blake Henning, RMEF’s Chief Conservation Officer.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?