The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation took part in a successful collaboration to acquire and open 560 acres of key elk habitat on the south fork of the John Day River in east-central Oregon. The purchase also opens access beyond the property to thousands of acres of land managed by the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service.

The transaction protects crucial winter range and increases the availability of public access for hunting and other recreation, according to Blake Henning, RMEF vice president of lands and conservation.

The property hosts up to 400 head of elk in the winter and is also home to mule deer, antelope, bighorn sheep, bear, mountain lion, raptors and other birds.

The South Basin Springs project is located south of Dayville in the ODFW’s Ochoco Game Management Unit. Since 1997, RMEF has worked to protect more than 31,000 acres of habitat in the Dayville area.

— From staff reports