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Watershed, Fish, Wildlife, Air & Rare Plants

Making Tracks

What is Making Tracks?

Making Tracks is a Forest Service partnership program with the National Wild Turkey Federation, state wildlife agencies, conservation groups and individuals.  It's goal is to emphasize wild turkey management on your National Forest.

Photograph. 3 mule deer on ridge in oregon. Taken by Dave Herr; USFS Find a Photo


Start writing your award nominations for 2016! Award Nomination Description and Nomination Criteria Form (26 KB DOC)

Making Tracks Call for Award Winners: Presented 2016

Congratulations to all the Award Winners

  • Group Award - Habitat Improvement Project (WEST) Award Recipient is the Grand Valley Ranger District, Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests
  • Group Award - Habitat Improvement Project (EAST) Award Recipient is the Hoosier National Forest
  • Group Award - Habitat Management Program Award Recipient is the Black Kettle National Grasslands, Cibola National Forest
  • Group Award - Partnership Achievement Program Award Recipient is the Ocoee Ranger District, Cherokee National Forest
  • Group Award - Conservation Education Program Award Recipient is the National Forests and Grasslands in Texas


The Wild Turkey in South Dakota (Book)
Tells the restoration story of the wild turkey.
Authors: Lester D. Flake, Chad P. Lehman, Anthony P. Leif, Mark A. Rumble and Daniel J. Thompson
"The Wild Turkey in South Dakota" authors received a Making Tracks Partnership Achievement Award during the NWTF's National Convention and Sport Show as a testament to their book about wild turkeys in South Dakota.
Purchase "The Wild Turkey in South Dakota" at the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Web site.




What is the National Wild Turkey Federation?

The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) is a membership organization dedicated to the conservation of the wild turkey and the preservation of the turkey hunting tradition. With more than 180,000 members, it serves as the principal voice for wild turkey management in North America.

How Does "Making Tracks" Work For You?

Emphasizing wild turkey habitat management on National Forest System lands can increase the turkey population by over one-quarter million birds. The populations on these public lands are available for all to use and enjoy. Over 28 million acres of wild turkey habitat occur on national forests and national grasslands. This habitat can be improved.

Since the first cooperative project in 1986, more than 700 habitat improvement projects have been completed on your National Forests. Two and a half million dollars from the Forest Service has been matched with another $1.6 million from the NWTF and another $1.9 million from state agencies and other cooperators. Thus MORE THAN $6 MILLION have been put to work managing habitats for wild turkeys and associated wildlife species through partnership projects. In addition, a major part of the Making Tracks program is coordination with other activities on the National Forests, including timber sales, grazing, and ecosystem management.

The optimum habitat is a variety of mature mixed-hardwood forests, with groups of conifers, relatively open understories, scattered grassy clearings, and well-distributed water sources. Such productive habitats support abundant turkeys and a rich diversity of plants and other animals.

Why Do We Need "Making Tracks"?


When European settlers first arrived, they found wild turkeys abundant and easy fare for the table. But by the turn of this century, unregulated harvest, agricultural clearing, uncontrolled woods burning, and human encroachment had decimated wild turkey populations. Only 30,000 birds remained in isolated flocks. Following World War II, sportsmen pushed for research, restoration, and management programs by state wildlife agencies and universities. Today, the wild turkey population is close to 4.5 million birds in 49 states - a major conservation success story. This achievement is a tribute to the support and dedication of state and federal wildlife agencies, and countless individuals and organizations, including the National Wild Turkey Federation. The job is not done, however.

There are now over 2.2 million turkey hunters in the nation; each is in the field about four times a year in pursuit of the wild turkey. The popularity and challenge of turkeys among sportsmen continues to grow, especially as newly restored populations are opened for hunting and viewing.

We must continue the legacy of wild turkey stewardship to insure that generations to come can enjoy the wonderful wild turkey resource.

Wild Turkey Restoration and Management Program

"Making Tracks" sets a general course of action to assure a rich and abundant resource of wild turkeys throughout the bird's range on national forests and grasslands. It establishes population goals, identifies habitat conservation needs in specific areas, and lays the groundwork for interested partners to work together.

Leaders of the Forest Service and National Wild Turkey Federation signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 1986 outlining their intent and commitment to promote wise management of wild turkeys on national forests throughout the United States. The Forest Service and state wildlife agencies also have agreements to jointly manage wildlife resources on national forest lands. Together, these three partners - Forest Service, states, and chapters of the National Wild Turkey Federation - develop restoration and enhancement strategies specific to the localized needs of wild turkeys in each region of the country.


How Can You Help?

With more than 28 million acres of turkey habitat in 35 states, the National Forest System has a tremendous opportunity to provide premier habitat for the wild turkey. These forest and grassland wild turkey habitats can be enhanced through partnerships with state wildlife agencies and the National Wild Turkey Federation. The successful strategy that brought the wild turkey from the brink of extinction to its present status as North America's most widely distributed big game bird can be strengthened through "Making Tracks," the joint program of increased habitat management, restoration, protection, and research.

The future for wild turkeys and those who treasure this great American resource on the national forests and grasslands is rich with opportunity and excitement. It is time to extend the legacy of success in wild turkey management on your national forests and grasslands, so let's "Make Tracks!"

Your support through participation and involvement will help insure the future existence and expansion of the majestic wild turkey on public lands throughout the nation. Contact any USDA Forest Service office or the National Wild Turkey Federation for more details.

Contact your local USDA Forest Service office or the National Wild Turkey Federation (1-800-the NWTF).


Managing for Wild Turkeys on Your National Forests (color flyer with photos)
Contact the Making Tracks Coordinator for a print copy

Making Tracks Handbook
Contact the Making Tracks Coordinator for a print copy
Photograph: Gail Tunberg displaying her turkey.

Making Tracks Coordinator for the Forest Service

Tracy Grazia, National Making Tracks Coordinator
Liaison - National Wild Turkey Federation
P.O. Box 530
770 Augusta Road
Edgefield, SC 29824-0530
Land Phone: 803-637-7508
Cell Phone: 517-282-5186
Fax: 803-637-9180
Email: tgrazia'at'


Disclaimers | Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) | Privacy Notice

Watershed, Fish, Wildlife, Air & Rare Plants (WFW)
Washington, D.C. Office
Author: Shelly Witt, National Continuing Education Coordinator, WFW staff
Phone: 435-881-4203
Expires: none

Photo Credits

USDA Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C. 20090-6090
(202) 205-8333