On Monday, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation announced a gift of over 1,000 acres near Dillon that will permanently protect critical elk habitat.

Spokesman Mark Holyoak said the generous landowners were gratified that the habitat could be protected.

“They wanted to have that habitat permanently protected because of its wildlife values,” said Holyoak. “We got together with them and we’ll get that conveyed to the Bureau of Land Management so it’ll be protected and open for people to hunt and fish and camp and all the things they like to do in the outdoors.”

Holyoak said the land is part of a checkerboard of various ownerships.

“That’s exactly right, it’s a puzzle,” he said. “There are so many pieces of land out there and every little piece of the puzzle counts. This one is home to elk of course, and that’s our interest, but our mission statement also looks out for insuring the future of other wildlife, so this is also home to bears, mule deer, sage grouse and other critters that are out there.”

Two small cabins are on currently on the site and will remain to be used as public rentals via the BLM recreation.gov system.