Nate West and Tracy Pinter, wildlife biologists, and Bob Means, forester, were the recipients of the award. Pinter accepted the award on behalf of the integrated vegetation management group from Dwight Fielder, BLM Division Chief for Fish, Wildlife and Plant Conservation during the NWTF Convention this Feb. 14-17, in Nashville, Tenn.
The Making Tracks Awards recognize groups or individuals for their land management efforts on behalf of wild turkeys and other wildlife. The NFO’s integrated vegetation management group (wildlife, forestry and fuels) received the award for its partnership effort working with Wyoming State Forestry, Wyoming Game and Fish, and NWTF, in the Mallo Camp area, 20 miles north of Newcastle, Wyo. in Weston County.
Mallo Camp is a popular recreation area located in the western Black Hills north of Newcastle, Wyo. The area attracts visitors from all over Wyoming, South Dakota, and Montana.
Over the past several years, the NFO has worked with local partners to treat and remove insect infested timber stands, reduce fire risks, improve habitat diversity and condition, and reduce invasive species and weed infestations.
Approximately 1,500 acres of habitat on state and public lands have been restored to native desirable vegetation communities, and many wildlife species will benefit from the diversity of habitat and regrowth of healthy Ponderosa pine stands including: turkeys, deer, elk, and small game.
Wildfire risks have also been reduced for the Mallo Camp area. This has been a major concern due to numerous recent wildfires in the Newcastle area and proximity to private homes and urban interface zones
“This long-term collaborative effort with our partners has resulted in the protection of old growth ponderosa pine stands, mitigation of potential impacts from insect and wildfire disturbance, restoration of wildlife habitat and provided economic opportunities to the local community in the form of timber sales and service contracts,” noted Newcastle Field Manager Rick Miller.
Partners that have been critical to the successful habitat restoration work include: Wyoming State Forestry, the local chapter of NWTF, and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
For more information, please contact the NFO at 307-746-6600. For more information about the NWTF, visit www.nwtf.org