The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation with its world headquarters in Missoula is celebrating its 37 anniversary on Friday, May 14.

Public Information Director Mark Holyoak provided details on how the organization got started.

“It's an historical day for us,” said Holyoak. “37 years ago on this date, May 14, 1984, is when RMEF came to be for elk hunters. They love elk and they love elk country and they were avidly involved with hunting and they just looked around and thought there are conservation groups that look after ducks and turkeys and other critters, but there's nothing out there looking out for elk, and so they put their heads together and literally scraped nickels together and formed the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and here we are. It's been it's been a great run.”

Holyoak described why the Elk Foundation has become a premiere wildlife organization in the midst of so many others.

“One of the best things that we have when you look at other critter conservation groups, if you want to call it that, is the animal itself” he said. “Everyone who's been outside recognizes the elk as a majestic creature, and so it just ranks extremely high compared to all other wildlife that are out there. On top of that are the places where elk live such as mountaintops and ridges, so they live in just epic locations. And so for us, that automatically as an organization makes it easier for us to conduct a lot of the land protection work and the habitat enhancement work that we do because they're an incredible animal that live in unbelievable places.”

Holyoak provided some numbers for the organization.

“We have more than 231,000 members across the country, with more than 11,000 volunteers and we have more than 500 chapters,” he said. “We're based in western Montana, but we're very much a national organization, and we have we have members spread from the Pacific Northwest, the desert southwest across the Midwest and clear across the northeast and up into New England.”

Holyoak was asked when the iconic Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation World Headquarters and Visitors Center might reopen, but there are some problems.

“We had a sprinkler pipe burst within our building a couple of months ago, and because of that we were undergoing some renovations inside,” he said. “So to be honest, three fourths of our building is vacant and because of that we're not fully open inside. We've talked to architects and we're going to get folks in here to take care of that. And then at that point, we hope to open.”

Get more information about the organization here.


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