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Foundation, landowners open 239 acres of big game habitat in Black Hills

Brent Duerre
Black Hills in western South Dakota (file)

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has helped the Black Hills National Forest acquire 239 acres of big game habitat.

In collaboration with two local landowners, the foundation helped in opening the previously private property into public hunting and recreational activity land.

“Properties surrounded by national forest lands are at risk of development, which would create impacts for wildlife and recreation throughout the surrounding forest. And for that reason, the U.S. National Forest Service considered this property a high priority,” said Kyle Weaver, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation president and CEO.

The property offers a mixture of plant and wildlife habitat near Hill City and is home to more than 6,000 elk, according to a statementfrom the foundation. Cold Springs Creek originates on the property, allowing for a large habitat for mammals, reptiles, waterfowl, and raptors.

“The Black Hills National Forest is very excited about this acquisition, which secures and protects these lands for future wildlife conservation efforts and public recreation opportunities, and values the partnership with RMEF, to negotiate and facilitate this purchase,” said Meagan Buehler, Black Hills National Forest lands program manager.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund supplied recreational access funding for the project.

Evan Walton is an SDPB reporter based in Sioux Falls. Evan holds a Master’s in English Literature from Southern New Hampshire University and was honorably discharged from the United States Army in 2015, where he served for five years as an infantryman.