Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation commits $300K to defeat Colorado’s Proposition 114
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation announced in late September it is committing more than $300,000 toward efforts to defeat a controversial 2020 ballot initiative to forcibly introduce wolves into Colorado.
In addition to the significant funding for multiple forms of educational outreach, RMEF also contributed donations of staffing and video production as well as member donations, according to a press release from the foundation.
“This is not just about simply checking a box on a ballot. Proposition 114 would have significant, long-lasting, detrimental impacts on both wildlife and Coloradans,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “We are doing everything in our power to help educate Colorado voters about the very real costs that a forced introduction of an apex predator would have on wildlife management, wildlife populations, the hunting industry, ranchers and the pocketbooks of taxpayers who will be left to foot the bill.”
When it comes to its opposition against Proposition 114, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation cited North America’s largest elk herd residing in Colorado, as well as more than $2.5 million in funding for scientific research and wildlife habitat enhancement the organization handed out in 2020 alone as key reasons why it is staunchly against the reintroduction of wolves into Colorado.
“It is also important to understand the same out-of-state environmental groups funding this forced wolf introduction also filed lawsuit after lawsuit to try to stop management of wolves in the Northern Rockies. It took an act of Congress to finally stop them,” added Weaver. “One of those groups also filed a lawsuit just last summer seeking to force the government to introduce grizzly bears into Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona (including the Grand Canyon) and six other states.”
Additionally, RMEF mentioned that wolves are already on the ground in northwest Colorado as one key reason why it’s against the reintroduction, while also citing that Colorado currently has a wolf management plan in place for naturally migrating wolves.
In years past, Colorado Parks and Wildlife managers spent $1 million studying wolf introduction and rejected the idea four different times. According to RMEF, a forced reintroduction from the ballot issue would cost $6 million in new spending during a time when COVID-19 impacts forced lawmakers to compensate for $3 billion in state budget losses that included massive cuts to education.
RMEF has a long history in Colorado. Since 1987, RMEF and its partners completed 782 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects with a combined value of more than $177.7 million. These projects protected or enhanced 468,068 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 122,107 acres. There are also more than 17,000 RMEF members and 28 chapters in the state.
For more information about the initiative and its impacts, please visit http://www.rmef.org.
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