The Ottawa National Forest, in partnership with National Wild Turkey Federation, improved 403 acres of upland wildlife habitat through a stewardship agreement.
Upland meadows, rich in wildlife shrubs and forbs, were maintained by removing unwanted woody vegetation through a contract developed by the Forest Service and the Turkey Federation. Under the agreement, the contract was implemented by the Turkey Federation on behalf of the Forest Service.
Also, twelve Hunter Walking Trails on the Ottawa were opened up and mowed to ease hunter walk-in access under this contract, totaling 41 miles of hunter walking trails. These areas are also open to hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders, but not open to motorized vehicles.
Turkey Federation Biologist Rick Horton stated “This agreement was a wonderful way to use the proceeds from a timber sale on the Ottawa to restore habitat for the benefit of not only wild turkeys, but also deer, bear, American woodcock and a suite of associated species.”
According to Ottawa Biologist Brian Bogaczyk “Stewardship agreements like this have provided funds for wildlife habitat work that are an order of magnitude higher than anything I’ve seen in my 15 years of Forest Service work. We achieved more work under this agreement than we could have ever done on our own.”
Bogaczyk also stated, “The Forest continues to work toward partnerships of this nature with multiple organizations and is excited about the possibilities for tremendous improvements of this nature in the immediate future.” Maps for the Hunter Walking Trails are available on the Ottawa National Forest website http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/ottawa/maps-pubs.
The U.S. Forest Service is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a mission of sustaining the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.
The Forest Service’s Eastern Region includes 20 states in the Midwest and East, stretching from Maine, to Maryland, to Missouri, to Minnesota. There are 17 national forests and one national tallgrass prairie in the Eastern Region. For more information, visit www.fs.usda.gov/R9.