A commitment to facilitating access and improvement to ranchland is honored.

(December 20, 2012 – Salem, OR) – Pam and Mark Wunderlich were honored as recipients of the 2012 Riley Freeman Award at the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association Annual Convention. This award, a joint honor on behalf of the OCA and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, honors an OCA member who best exemplifies the concepts of good ranch stewardship and collaboration with state and federal agencies on fish and wildlife habitat. The award is named after Riley Freeman, a past chair of the OCA Wildlife Committee. Riley vigorously advocated for partnership between wildlife managers, landowners, and wildlife consumers and was instrumental in creation of ODF&W’s Access and habitat Program.

The Wunderlichs are owner/operators of Wilkinson Ranches LLC located in Morrow County. Their ranch was first opened to public hunting in 1967 by Pam’s parents, Dick and Virginia Wilkinson. and has been open to the public for hunting access since that time.

Pam and Mark have a history of working closely with ODF&W to provide this public access and their land provides the core of the Heppner Regulated Hunt Area in Morrow County through an Access and Habitat grant. They have also worked with their local Soil and Water Conservation District in conjunction with ODF&W and the NCRS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) to implement projects to improve upland bird and mule deer habitat.

“Their generosity provides Oregon big game and bird hunters year-around access to almost 31,000 acres of private property supporting 6,000 user days of hunting annually,” said Bruce Eddy, Northeast Region Manager for ODFW. “The Wunderlichs also have a strong commitment to the stewardship of their land and continue to work to improve wildlife habitat.”

Kay Tiesl, Executive Director of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, stated, “The OCA is pleased to honor Pam and Mark and their efforts to not only conserve and sustain their ranchland but also work to provide greater access for Oregon hunters. Their example demonstrates the positive relationship that can occur between the ranching industry, state agencies and a mutual respect an concern for our natural resources.”

Media Contact: Kay Teisl, OCA Executive Director. 503-361-8941 or via email: kayteisl@orcattle.com.