MISSOULA, Mont.-The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is the recipient of one of the largest endowments ever gifted to a hunter-based, wildlife conservation organization. The $30 million Torstenson Family Endowment will allow RMEF to vastly accelerate the rate at which its carries out its mission to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.
"This is a monumental game-changer for RMEF," said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. "Thanks to the generosity of the Torstenson family, this endowment allows RMEF to expand Bob Torstenson's passion and vision for wildlife and conservation in ways we could have never imagined."
The Torstenson Family Endowment (TFE) comes as a result of the sale of the Torstenson Wildlife Center, formerly known as the Double H Ranch, a sprawling 93,403-acre ranch in west-central New Mexico that was gifted to RMEF by Bob Torstenson in 2002.
RMEF will use proceeds from the TFE to further its core mission programs: permanent land protection, habitat stewardship, elk restoration and hunting heritage.
"The impact this endowment will have on RMEF's on-the-ground projects is incredibly far-reaching," said Blake Henning, RMEF vice president of Lands and Conservation. "This gives us the potential to increase our mission accomplishments substantially. RMEF plans to invest half a million dollars this year alone toward improving elk habitat and supporting hunting heritage projects."
The TFE allows RMEF to increase project funding by attracting matching funds both from the private and public sectors. It also allows RMEF to much more quickly meet and head off the habitat changes and challenges taking place across the US.
RMEF also maintains a conservation easement on the entire 93,403.4 acres of deeded land, which stretches between two mountain ranges-the Datils and the Gallinas-and two portions of the Cibola National Forest. It harbors thickly timbered ridges, deep coulees and steep hillsides. At the property's center is an expansive plain, 80-acre lake and accompanying riparian habitat. It is home to elk, deer, pronghorns, mountain lions, coyotes, quail and a variety of songbirds and other species. The landscape today looks the same as when Bob Torstenson originally placed the easement on the property to conserve and protect the habitat in perpetuity.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
RMEF is leading a conservation initiative that protected or enhanced habitat on more than 6.2 million acres-an area larger than Yellowstone, Great Smoky Mountains, Grand Canyon, Glacier, Yosemite and Rocky Mountain national parks combined. RMEF also is a strong voice for hunters in access, wildlife management and conservation policy issues. RMEF members, partners and volunteers, working together as Team Elk, are making a difference all across elk country. Join us at www.rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.