Local groups tend to wild turkey habitat

Two members of Boy Scout Troop 353 from Grand Junction were among the 25 Scouts participating last weekend in a winter-habitat project along the Dolores River near Gateway. The project was sponsored by the Western Slope Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation.

Two Grand Junction Boy Scout troops and a handful of adult volunteers recently braved a early spring storm for a fast-paced winter habitat project benefitting wild turkeys along the Dolores River near Gateway.

Boy Scout Troops 318 and 353 joined members of the Western Slope Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation for the two-day project along the Dolores.

The days were spent planting shrubs and cottonwood trees on private ranches.

The plantings are aimed at ensuring wild turkeys continue to thrive in southwest Colorado, said G. Russell Means, local turkey federation chapter president.

“This isn’t for hunting, it’s strictly a conservation project to provide better habitat during the winter,” Means said.

About 25 Scouts pitched in during the two-day affair in spite of threatening weather and a holiday weekend, he said.

“Considering it was the day before Easter, it wasn’t too bad,” Means said.

Although the surrounding mountains had a mantle of snow, “by the time we got to Gateway it was about 15 degrees warmer,” he said.

The project was part of a $50,000 winter habitat program funded by Marathon Oil. Another project is scheduled for later this summer near Molina.

Marathon has partnered with the National Wild Turkey Federation for several habitat and conservation projects, including turkey habitat improvements and tamarisk removal from the Dolores River watershed.

A hotdog roast for the Scouts was funded by Encana, Means said.

“Having the support of these energy companies was vital,” Means said.

The Western Slope chapter will have a booth and programs during the Outdoor Heritage Day set for April 24 at Riverbend Park in Palisade.


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