Montana City’s Ash Grove Cement Company has given $25,000 to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to help protect 20,000 acres of wildlife habitat in the Elkhorn Mountains. The gift from the Kansas-based Sunderland Foundation, which is named after the family that owns the Kansas-based Ash Grove Cement Company, was given to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation earlier this month. It’s the largest donation to the Elkhorn Conservation Initiative, which was launched in 2003 to bring landowners, hunters and the greater community together to help protect the mountain range.
Jerry Wells, Elkhorn Initiative coordinator for the Elk Foundation, said they approached the local cement company about a year ago to see if they were interested in making a donation. The Ash Grove plant is tucked into the northern flank of the Elkhorn’s, and the company owns about 2300 acres there. Much of the land is open for public recreation, although hunting isn’t allowed.
The non-profit Sunderland Foundation, which was established in 1945, contributes annually to community development projects in states where the company operates, including Arkansas, Nebraska, Montana and Utah. The Elk Foundation, the US Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks all are pulling together in this five-year effort to protect and enhance at least 20,000 acres of wildlife habitat in the Elkhorn Range.