MISSOULA, Mont.—Members and other supporters of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation generated a wave of enthusiasm as they gathered in the Wasatch Mountains and under the stars to celebrate 35 years of conservation.
The revamped Elk Camp, presented by Yeti, and the inaugural Mountain Festival, fueled by MTN Ops, took place July 11-14 at Canyons Village in Park City, Utah.
“What an incredible four days we just experienced! It was awesome to be with our volunteers, our members, our conservation partners and so many other people who value our mission,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “And feeling their passion and energy as we celebrated together at 7,000 feet up in the mountains was truly special.”
RMEF changed the dynamic of its annual national convention by moving the date to the summer and the venue to elk country. Much of it took place in an open air festival atmosphere.
In keeping with Elk Camp tradition, RMEF recognized and honored individual, chapter and state volunteers by celebrating their amazing fundraising and mission accomplishments Saturday afternoon and into that evening. This included presenting RMEF Chairman’s Awards to Gary Hansen and Dave Kleckner.
Among other achievements, RMEF announced a major accomplishment by reaching its fundraising goal of $2.46 million for the Falls Creek project in Montana which will permanently protect and open access to 442 acres of pristine elk habitat, and improve access to 26,000 acres beyond it. The land is expected to be open to the public in time for the 2019 general big game hunting season.
Additional Elk Camp/Mountain Festival highlights:
- Keynote addresses by U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment James Hubbard, Shane Mahoney, Matt Kauffman and Adam Weatherby
- Presented Matt Kauffman with Conservationist of the Year Award
- Presented Lee and Jacqui Swanson with RMEF’s highest honor, the Wallace Fennell Pate Wildlife Conservation Award
- More than 3,000 archers participating in the Total Archery Challenge
- RMEF and partner film premieres
- Elk hunting and elk calling seminars on the Leupold Live Stage
- More than 100 outdoor industry vendor booths and interactive displays
- $43,000 in cash and prizes doled out & six category champions crowned at RMEF World Elk Calling Championships presented by Sportsman’s Warehouse
- Live music by Craig Morgan, David Lee Murphy, Shane Minor, Nate Hosie, Glen Templeton, Cole Taylor and Chase McGill
“Going forward, we will harness the synergy we felt at Elk Camp and do all we can to further our mission of ensuring the future of elk and elk country,” added Weaver.
In addition to YETI, MTN Ops, Leupold and Sportsman’s Warehouse, primary Elk Camp and Mountain Festival sponsors include ALPS OutdoorZ, Bass Pro Shops-Cabela’s, Browning, Buck Knives, Eberlestock, onX Hunt, Remington, Sitka, Traeger, Wildgame Innovations and Yamaha.
Other event sponsors include BMO Wealth Management, Danner, Fathers in the Field, Federal, Gerber, Mathews, Montana Canvas, Rocky Mountain Hunting Calls, U.S. Bank, Warn, Weatherby and Weston.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded 35 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of nearly 235,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.5 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, elknetwork.com or 800-CALL ELK.