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The Mountain-Prairie Region


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228


July 20, 2006

Contact: Heather Johnson, FWS, (303) 236-4316
              Jack Turnell, (307) 868-2407


A senior official in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Mountain-Prairie Region is getting a first-hand look this week at ranch life in Wyoming. What began as a straightforward job swap with rancher Jack Turnell at the Pitchfork Ranch in Meeteetse, Wyoming turned into a scramble to get cattle down from the high country as the Little Venus Fire erupted.

Jay Slack, Deputy Regional Director for the 8-State region, which includes Wyoming, is participating in a work exchange through "Walk A Mile In My Boots," the highly-successful program established to foster greater mutual understanding and communication between ranchers and employees of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Slack is spending the week with Jack Turnell at the Pitchfork Ranch, learning about the realities of ranching in the west and how ranchers like Turnell manage their lands to enhance wildlife habitat.

"I knew it was going to be quite an experience coming to Jack’s place and learning about ranch life in Wyoming," said Slack. "After working side by side with these folks, in the mountains and now here at the ranch, I have gained a huge appreciation for what a day in the life of a rancher looks like and the many challenges they face."

Created in 2003 by the Service and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Walk-A-Mile In My Boots has recently expanded to include the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and the National Association of Conservation Districts. More information on the program can be found at:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million- acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices, and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American Tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to State fish and wildlife agencies.

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