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The Mountain-Prairie Region


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


November 20, 2006        

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


Mr. Jack Turnell, a rancher and conservationist from Meteeste, recently traveled to Washington, DC to spend a day with senior officials of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

A participant 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, Turnell spent four days in early November in the nation’s capital with members of the Service’s Directorate, attending meetings on a variety of conservation issues, educating staff at the Service’s national headquarters about ranching and wildlife, and observing other activities related to the daily operations of the nation’s principal fish and wildlife conservation agency.   

Turnell also spent a day at the Service’s National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, filming a video with Slack about the Walk A Mile program and Turnell’s views on the relationship between ranching and fish and wildlife conservation.  The video will be used to promote awareness about ranching-related issues among Service personnel working on conservation activities that affect livestock producers. 

“My goal is to prove that productive ranching and environmental concerns can be compatible.  It is going to take education, communication, and cooperation, with good science, common sense and trust,” said Turnell.   

Turnell’s trip was a reciprocal exchange for an earlier visit to his ranch by Jay Slack, Deputy Director of the Service’s Mountain-Prairie Region, which includes Wyoming.  This past June, Slack spent a week on Turnell’s Pitchfork Ranch, working alongside Turnell and his staff, learning about ranching in the west and how ranchers like Turnell manage their lands to enhance wildlife habitat. 

Slack’s exchange included some unexpected excitement: the Little Venus Fire blew up on the Shoshone National Forest while Slack was helping tend cattle on a Pitchfork allotment on the forest, and Slack lent a much-needed hand to move the cattle out of harm’s way. 

“I greatly appreciate Jack’s willingness to share his experiences and perspectives on ranching and conservation with the Service,” said Slack.  “I believe the Service and livestock producers are natural partners, and I look forward to working with the ranching community in Wyoming and throughout the region to find conservation solutions that benefit both producers and wildlife.” 

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, including photographs from Turnell and Slack’s experience, 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. 

                                                                          - FWS - 

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