Colorado acreage conserved for elk and mule deer
Fifteen miles northwest of Meeker, Colorado lies the Keystone property, critical to elk and mule deer migration. In fact, the property acts as a migration corridor, providing critical habitat that supports these ungulates during an important time. Thanks to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) and local landowners, nearly 12,000 acres are now preserved through a 20-year access easement through Colorado Parks & Wildlife’s (CPW) Ranching for Wildlife Program, according to The Daily Sentinel.
“We appreciate the willingness of the Keystone Ranch to enter into this volunteer conservation agreement,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “Thanks to their vision and prudent stewardship, the wildlife values of 11,752 acres will remain intact going forward.”
The area offers a varied landscape that supports elk, antelope, black bears, mule deer and sage grouse. It is vital to elk caving and acts as a winter range for plenty of wildlife due to the smorgasbord of grasslands, sagebrush shrubs, aspen and conifer woodlands, croplands and riparian areas. The protected migration corridor is used primarily by the White River elk and mule deer herds with about 10,000 elk crossing the acreage every year, according to The Daily Sentinel.
“As an example of how prudently the landowners utilize their land, they use a grazing cycle where each pasture rests for two years for the benefit of livestock and wildlife alike. That’s a win-win,” said Weaver.
Financial support was provided by Great Outdoors Colorado, CPW, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Gates Family Foundation.