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Wildlife, Hunters Benefit from Partnership

Partnerships between the National Wild Turkey Federation and the USDA Forest Service have resulted in more hunting opportunities and increased wildlife habitat across the nation.

Keeping with that tradition, the NWTF and USFS recently signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). It is the third time the MOU has been signed between the two groups, and it will continue their partnership until 2010.

The purpose of the MOU is to allow for joint planning on projects benefiting the wild turkey on National Forest System lands, such as habitat enhancement and wild turkey restoration.

"We're proud of our partnership and all that we've accomplished with the Forest Service," said Rob Keck, CEO of the NWTF. "By continuing this commitment, we, along with over 2,200 NWTF chapters, can continue to make big things happen throughout the acres that make up the National Forests and Grasslands."

The USFS is responsible for managing National Forest System lands in 44 states covering 192 million acres. Through state and private forestry, the USFS provides informational, educational and technical assistance to an estimated 10 million private landowners who manage more than 42 percent of the nation's forested lands.

"This extension of our partnership is a reflection of the strength and commitment of both organizations to achieve even greater success in working together to improve wild turkey and wildlife habitat," said Joel Holtrop, Deputy Chief for the National Forest System. "Each revision of the MOU reflects new partnership opportunities, NWTF programs, tremendous growth and expanded opportunities in wildlife habitat, conservation education and preserving our hunting heritage."

The first MOU between the NWTF and the USFS was signed in 1986 and has been renewed three times.

"The current MOU reflects the tremendous growth of our programs and provides a solid foundation to expand," Keck said. "As partners, we've learned from each other and will continue to learn throughout our partnership."

For more information about the NWTF, call (800) THE-NWTF.

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