Ozark-St. Francis National Forests receives National Making Tracks with the Forest Service award


The Ozark-St. Francis National Forests’ Big Piney Ranger District received the National Wild Turkey Federation’s 2018 National Making Tracks with the Forest Service Award during the 42nd annual convention in Nashville, Tenn. Photo courtesy of the National Wild Turkey Federation. Forest Service photo.

ARKANSAS — Ozark-St. Francis National Forests’ Big Piney ranger district received the National Wild Turkey Federation’s 2018 National Making Tracks with the Forest Service award during the 42nd annual convention in Nashville, Tenn.

The district received the award for its work on the Bearcat Hollow Stewardship Wildlife Management project under the category “Making Tracks Habitat Management Program.” The award recognizes outstanding program accomplishments that benefit wild turkeys and their habitat over a multiple year period.

The project covers approximately 36,000 acres in Newton and Searcy counties and has resulted in the creation of 60 wildlife openings totaling 1,200 acres since 2009. Additional management activities include planting native warm and cool season grass, bush hogging, timber harvesting, creation of ponds and prescribed burning.

The project is part of the Ozark Highlands Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Project, which is a national initiative to restore or improve watershed and ecological function on Forest Service land.

“It is a great honor for the Big Piney Ranger District to receive the Making Tracks Award especially when you consider only four of these awards are given out nationally,” said Dwayne Rambo, Big Piney Ranger District’s wildlife biologist. “Bearcat Hollow’s success can be directly attributed to the strength of our partners and the knowledge and resources they bring to the project.”

Partners on the Bearcat Hollow project include the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Arkansas Wildlife Federation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, National Wild Turkey Federation and the National Park Service.