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Watershed, Fish, Wildlife, Air & Rare Plants

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 Forests.

Photograph: Wild Turkey - hen


Making Tracks Call for Award Winners 2014

NWTF Press Release

The Pinaleño Ecosystem Restoration Project Award in Coronado National Forest, Safford Ranger District. This award recognizes project accomplishments that benefit wild turkeys for a single year. The project improved forest health and conserved habitat for a variety of species including Gould's wild turkeys. In recognition of outstanding achievement that best incorporates active Wild Turkey management into ecosystem management. The Award Recipients are Anne Casey, Wildlife Biologist; Craig Wilcox, Forest Silviculturist; and Matt Litrell, Forester.

Photograph: Award winners holding Habitat Management Project awards.

Caption: Anne Casey and Craig Wilcox accepted plaques for their individual roles in the project. (right to left)

Wayne National Forest in Ohio. This award recognizes program accomplishments that benefit wild turkeys over several years. Numerous programs and projects take place on Wayne National Forest. Nearly 5,500 acres of habitat will receive or already have received improvements or enhancements. In recognition of outstanding program accomplishments that benefit wild turkeys and their habitat over multiple years on the Wayne National Forest. The Award Recipients are Steve Blatt, Forest Biologist; Patrick Mercer, District Wildlife Biologist; and Lynda Andrews, District Wildlife Biologist.

Photograph: Award winners pose with Habitat Management Program award.

Caption: Steve Blatt, Patrick Mercer, and Eddie Park accept plaques for the program accomplishments on the Wayne National Forest. (right to left)

The Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area in Kentucky and Tennessee
In recognition of accomplishments in strengthening and expanding the partnership between the Forest Service and the National Wild Turkey Federation. The Award Recipients are Elizabeth Raikes, Wildlife Biologist; Steve Bloemer, Wildlife Program Manager; Dennis Wilson, Timber Program Manager; Robert Sigler, Grants and Agreements Specialist.

Photograph: Award winners pose with Partnership Achievement award. Caption: Tina Tilley, Elizabeth Raikes, Steve Bloemer, Dennis Wilson and Robert Sigler accepted plaques for the Partnership Achievement Award. (right to left)

Chattohoochee-Oconee National Forest in Georgia. In recognition of outstanding accomplishments in the planning and execution of conservation education programs that highlight wildlife management, education and restoration. The Award Recipients are Zach Nichols, Law Enforcement Officer; Liz Caldwell, Wildlife Biologist; David Fowler, Recreation Technician; and Angela Marcano, Recreation Technician.

Photograph: Award winners pose with Conservation Education Awards. Caption: Zach Nichols, Liz Caldwell and Betty Jewett accepted plaques for the Conservation Education Award. (right to left)

Photograph: Forest Service conference attendees.
Caption: Forest Service "family photo" at the National Wild Turkey Federation Convention

Photograph: Don DeLorenzo posing with wild turkeys from his hunt.

The Wild Turkey in South Dakota
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).

You can find locations for viewing wildlife, plants and fish through our NatureWatch "Viewing Sites" website at 'inature'.

Turkey Biology

NWTF - All About Turkeys

Photograph: Gail Tunberg displaying her turkey.

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'


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

Making Tracks Handbook (downloadable pdf version will be available soon)
(Contact Making Tracks Coordinator for a print copy)

National Wild Turkey Federation


Updated: 07.01.15


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