The Oregon Seal Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife  
ignore
 » ODFW Home    » ODFW News Releases
ignore
ignore
ignore
About Us Fishing Hunting Viewing License/Regs Conservation Living With Wildlife Education
ignore
ignore
Elk ODFW RESOURCES
News Releases
ignore

Funding comes through for Phase 2 of Minam River Wildlife Area thanks to USDA, RMEF

July 17, 2023

LA GRANDE, Ore.— Thanks to promised funding from the U.S.D.A. Forest Legacy Program and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF), completion of Phase 2 of the Minam River Wildlife Area is one step closer.

The Minam River Acquisition project is expected to close later in 2023. When it does, the property will include six miles of the historic Minam River Trail and will put nearly 99 percent of the Minam River in permanent conservation status or public ownership. The wildlife area also shares a 2.5 mile boundary with the Eagle Cap Wilderness and together with surrounding national forestland, creates .a large block of public land for fish and wildlife conservation and recreational access.

The USDA Forest Legacy Program contributed $9.7 million to the project which is known as the Minam Conservation and Connectivity Project, and RMEF also generously donated to both phases of the project. The Forest Legacy Program is a conservation program administered by the U.S. Forest Service in partnership with Oregon Department of Forestry to encourage the protection of privately owned forest lands through conservation easements or land purchases to maintain public benefits such as opportunities to hunt, fish and camp; clean and abundant drinking water; habitat for fish and wildlife, and timber, fuel wood and other forest products.

Located about 30 miles northeast of La Grande in Wallowa and Union Counties, Minam River Wildlife Area will conserve and open public access to 15,573 acres along the Minam River. It will permanently protect crucial winter range for elk and deer and continue to provide habitat for salmon, bull trout, and other Oregon Conservation Strategy Species including white-headed woodpecker, Rocky Mountain tailed frog and several priority bat species. 

Recreationvopportunities on the property include hunting, fishing, hiking, birdwatching, horseback riding, kayaking and other activities. The proposed Minam River trailhead will be established on the border shared with the Minam StatevRecreation Area and the wildlife area. A footbridge over the Minam River is being considered to facilitate improved public access to the historic Minam River Trail. The trail connects recreationists to the Wallowa Mountains and Eagle Cap Wilderness in the neighboring National Forest. 

"Thevsignificance of this acquisition cannot be overstated," said Curt Melcher, Director of ODFW.  "An opportunity to protect such a large swath of diverse habitat does not come along very often. ODFW has pursued opportunities to permanently protect this property since the 1960s. This acquisition would not have been possible without the leadership and funding from USDA Forest Legacy Program and RMEF, as well as a strong partnership with Manulife," added Melcher. 

"This commitment of Forest Legacy funding is a vital step toward completion of a landmark conservation project that will conserve and protect habitat for elk, mule deer, fish, birds and other wildlife, while also providing access for hunters, anglers and others," said Kyle Weaver, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation president and CEO. "We would like to recognize our partners at Manulife, ODFW and the U.S. Forest Service as well as support from elected officials, both locally and in Congress, for making this conservation victory possible."

To learn more about visiting Minam River Wildlife Area, see the Visitor's Guide. Note access to the wildlife area is closed Dec. 1-March 30 so disturbance to deer and elk is limited during the sensitive winter period. Access along the Minam River Trail is allowed year-round.

As with other state wildlife areas, ODFW will pay fire protection fees and "in-lieu" of property taxes to maintain county tax revenue, ensuring a win for all. Future management will be determined through the adoption of a Wildlife Area Management Plan.

Map of Minam Wildlife Area showing Phase 2
https://www.dfw.state.or.us/news/images/2023/071723_Review3_MinamOR_FlyerMap.jpg

Photos of Minam River Wildlife Area, credit the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF)
https://www.dfw.state.or.us/news/images/2023/071723_Minam%20River%20and%20sticky%20geraniums%20_DSC0773%20copy-1200x850-5578fb0.jpg

https://www.dfw.state.or.us/news/images/2023/071723_Minam%20River%20flowing%20from%20Eagle%20Cap%20Wilderness_DSC0588-1200x800-5b2df79.jpg

https://www.dfw.state.or.us/news/images/2023/071723_Minam%20uplands%20_DSC0542%20copy-800x1200-cb6eae5.jpg

###

Contact:

Michelle Dennehy, (503) 931-2748, michelle.N.Dennehy@odfw.oregon.gov

 
facebook twitter youtube rss feed

ignore
ignore  
 


About Us | Fishing | Crabbing & Clamming | Big Game Hunting | Game Bird Hunting | Wildlife Viewing | License / Regs | Conservation | Living with Wildlife | Education | Workday Login

ODFW Home | Driving Directions | Employee Directory | Social Media | Oregon.gov | File Formats | Employee Webmail | ODFW License Agents | Accessibility

4034 Fairview Industrial Drive SE   ::   Salem, OR 97302   ::    Main Phone (503) 947-6000 or (800) 720-ODFW [6339]

Do you have a question or comment for ODFW? Contact ODFW's Public Service Representative at: odfw.info@odfw.oregon.gov
Share your opinion or comments on a Fish and Wildlife Commission issue at: odfw.commission@odfw.oregon.gov
Do you need this information in an alternative format or language? Contact 503-947-6000 or click here.





   © ODFW. All rights reserved. This page was last updated: 07/17/2023 4:07 PM