MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded a $50,000 grant to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) for expanding its Access Yes! program. The funding will enroll approximately 40,000 acres of land to provide access for sportsmen and women.
“Opening and securing public access is a key component of RMEF’s mission,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “This grant will allow Idaho Fish and Game to work with landowners to provide access to land that hunters would not otherwise be able to use.”
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is in a one year time frame between the expiration of a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant for access and applying for a second USDA grant.
“RMEF is stepping up and helping out so we don’t have to terminate a number of agreements with landowners during this fall hunting season,” said IDFG Director Virgil Moore. “We truly appreciate RMEF’s efforts to maintain recreational access for the citizens of Idaho.”
Access Yes! is a program designed to improve sportsmen's access to private land or through private land to public land by compensating willing landowners that provide access. It highlights locations, the amount of acreage including available public and private land, type of wildlife, a general land description and a listing of available opportunities—hunting, fishing or trapping. As of April 29, 2014, 97 lease agreements are currently active opening 394,952 private acres and 511,555 public acres.
Funding for the Access Yes! grant came from the Torstenson Family Endowment, which is only used to further RMEF’s core mission programs of permanent land protection, habitat stewardship, elk restoration and hunting heritage.
Since 1985, RMEF and its partners completed 446 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Idaho with a combined value of more than $56.4 million that opened or secured public access to 62,002 acres.
RMEF awarded a $45,000 grant to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department AccessYes program earlier this year which will provide access to 189,000 acres of land for hunters.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 200,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 6.4 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 Conservation™” at www.rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.