The Intersection between the NWTF and the Timber Industry


In January 2022, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) released the 10-year Wildfire Crisis Strategy (the Strategy) to address the wildfire crisis where it poses the most immediate threats to communities. Based on years of scientific research and a historic level of funding, the Strategy is meant to drastically increase the pace and scale of forest treatments. To be successful, the Strategy outlines the need for the Forest Service to work with partners such as states, Tribes, and nongovernmental organizations.   

Recognizing the need to increase capacity, the U.S. Forest Service signed a 20-year Master Stewardship Agreement (MSA) with the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) in September of 2022. The primary purpose of the MSA is to work together to address the wildfire crisis in the West and promote healthy forests across the U.S. This MSA was the first of its kind in terms of being a long-term agreement with a conservation organization and is the largest in the NWTF’s 50-year history.  

The mission of the NWTF is the conservation of the wild turkey and the preservation of our hunting heritage. Through the delivery of this mission, the NWTF addresses our four shared values to go way beyond turkeys: clean water, healthy forests and wildlife habitat, resilient communities, and robust recreational opportunities. Given our mission and values, it is not surprising that the NWTF is the largest and longest-serving partner with the Forest Service, with over a 40-year history of implementing projects together. Through traditional stewardship agreements and other agreements, the NWTF has worked in every Region of the Forest Service except for Hawaii and Alaska.  

The MSA provides the umbrella structure for the NWTF to work with the Forest Service and outlines how we will partner. This work may include road and trail maintenance, vegetation management, noxious weed control, reforestation, project preparation including surveys, and supporting the innovative use of forest products. Based on the MSA, we are building out Regional Supplemental Project Agreements (SPAs) that are tied to specific projects on the ground. Each project varies. In some cases, we are asked to help with prep, such as botany surveys. Other times, we are asked to implement the project and sell the forest products.  

In addition to the MSA, the NWTF recently signed a Participating Agreement with the Forest Service. This agreement will fund additional staff for the NWTF, which is tied specifically to the Wildfire Crisis work.  Positions include the Wildfire Crisis Manager, Regional Coordinators, a budget specialist, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) support.  

For the NWTF to be successful in the wildfire crisis work we are being asked to take on, as well as our normal stewardship work, we know we need a sustainable timber industry to implement the work on the ground and utilize the wood being removed. Through our MSA, the NWTF is required to utilize the local bidders list from the USFS, and we typically extend outreach further through local trade/advocacy associations.  Our goal for every project is open and competitive bidding based on a defined best-value approach. If you are interested in doing work for the National Wild Turkey Federation, please contact the following: