Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) and the National Wild Turkey Federation have completed a wildlife habitat project that adds 480 acres to Kansas’ Tuttle Creek Wildlife Area in Pottawatomie County. Not only does the land acquisition permanently protect important habitat for pheasants, quail and prairie chickens, the new tract opens public access to a 550-acre tract of Tuttle Creek Wildlife Area that had been previously inaccessible to the public as it was surrounded by private land. The net result is this acquisition opens 1,030 acres to public hunting and outdoor recreation.
The 484-acre acquisition expands Tuttle Creek Wildlife Area to more than 12,600 acres, permanently conserving tallgrass prairie in the state’s northern Flint Hills. The acquired tract has officially been transferred to KDWPT and will be managed under the Tuttle Creek Wildlife Area’s management plan.
This project is the result of a new permanent land conservation partnership between Pheasants Forever, KDWPT and other Kansas conservation partners. The Tuttle Creek project is Pheasants Forever’s first “Build a Wildlife Area” land conservation partnership project in Kansas. The “Build a Wildlife Area” program, is a proven model of fundraising, protecting wildlife habitat and securing a permanent place for the public to enjoy hunting, fishing and the outdoors, not only today, but in perpetuity.
“KDWPT is committed to working with our Kansas conservation partners to expand existing wildlife areas for the enjoyment of future generations. This is a great example of how voluntary conservation efforts are making a difference in Kansas. When private landowners and conservation groups work collaboratively with state wildlife agencies, we are successful in our efforts to increase public access opportunities for outdoor recreation. It is something we need to do more of in Kansas, a state in which less than 3 percent of land is in public ownership,” states Robin Jennison, KDWPT Secretary.
“Permanently protecting upland habitat and opening these acres to the public is a priority for Pheasants Forever and our Kansas conservation partners. Thank you to our Kansas conservation partners for collaborating over the last year to make this project a reality,” says Jordan Martincich, Pheasants Forever’s Development Officer a lifelong Kansan; “This strategic acquisition will do great things for upland birds while simultaneously providing many enduring public benefits.”
Funding for the Tuttle Creek Wildlife Area acquisition was provided by Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism, federal funding through Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act (excise tax on hunting and fishing equipment), Pheasants Forever’s “Build a Wildlife Area” program, the Flint Hills Pheasants Forever chapter, Fort Riley Pheasants Forever chapter, the National Wild Turkey Federation Superfund, the Robert Ramsdale Memorial, Robert Loyd – Commerce Trust Co., and a donation from the Jessie Benton Lyman Trust.
To date, Pheasants Forever’s Build a Wildlife Area program has completed more than 25 projects in three states, permanently protecting more than 6,000 acres of wildlife habitat – all of it open to the public for hunting and outdoor recreation.
For more information on Pheasants Forever’s permanent habitat conservation efforts in Kansas, the Build a Wildlife Area program, or information about Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever chapters in the state, contact Chris Blackledge – Pheasants Forever Regional Representative – by phone at 785-764-6240 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Jared Wiklund (651) 209-4953
Image courtesy Pheasants Forever