If you ever drove across the state of Nevada, you know it features an abundance of wide-open country. In fact, the aptly named Sagebrush State, due to its seemingly never-ending sagebrush horizons, is the seventh-most extensive yet ninth-least densely populated state in the Lower 48. But that doesn’t stop Nevada volunteers with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation from traveling miles and miles to make a difference for elk and other wildlife.
Take a recent work project in 2022, for example. About a dozen RMEF and Nevada Department of Wildlife volunteers gathered in the remote northeastern part of the state. How remote? Reno was 340 miles to the west while Las Vegas was 380 miles to the south. In fact, the nearest large population center was Salt Lake City, about 180 miles to the east.
Geography and mileposts aside, the volunteers pulled on their work gloves and boots to remove a section of barbed wire fence on the Winecup Gamble Ranch. The fencing created an obstacle for a highly used mule deer migration corridor in the Pequop Mountains, a north-south mountain range that covers about 50 miles. In the end, volunteers pulled a mile of fencing and removed metal fence posts to not only clear the way for mulies but also elk, pronghorn antelope and other wildlife.
“Team Nevada came together to work hard and have fun all while being able to improve the landscape for Nevada wildlife,” said Deanna Ackerman, RMEF regional director over Nevada. “I’m very grateful for our volunteers who gathered on this day but also for all those who give of their time and energy to plan and host banquets and other events across the state. Without those fundraising events, this and other on the ground projects wouldn’t be possible.”
There are more than 3,300 RMEF members in a dozen chapters across the state. The chapter banquets generate much-needed dollars used for work that improves wildlife habitat and supports hunting and conservation programs in Nevada.
If you do the math and dwell on history, the results are significant. Since 1988, RMEF and its partners completed more than 270 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Nevada with a combined value of more than $21.1 million. These projects conserved or enhanced upwards of 457,000 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 30,625 acres.