Refreshing a Habitat Management Area and a Woodcock Trail


05/07/15

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RGS on the Web - www.youngforest.org article

The Ruffed Grouse Society/American Woodcock Society and our Red Brush Chapter are supporting efforts coordinated by The Young Forest Project on the Penn State Experimental Forest in Stone Valley (central Pennsylvania) to rehab this long-time demonstration area and woodcock breeding site.

'In the 1930s, a wave of farm abandonment swept through the northeastern United States. In central Pennsylvania’s Stone Valley, in Huntingdon County, many farmers gave up on tilling the shaley soil and moved away, their lands purchased by the U.S. Resettlement Administration. Shrubs and small trees filled in the tired eroded fields, which soon began producing bumper crops – not of corn and oats, but rather of woodcock, ruffed grouse, deer, and songbirds like brown thrashers and indigo buntings.'
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'Clearly it was time for another habitat restoration project in Stone Valley – this one a multi-partner effort that in three years has yielded more than 168 acres of new young forest to help woodcock, songbirds, wild turkeys, ruffed grouse, deer, and numerous other species that need the thick hiding cover and enhanced food resources found in this productive habitat. The effort was largely supported by the Game Commission through the use of Pittman-Robertson funds, a federal program that distributes money generated from excise taxes on firearms and ammunition; state wildlife agency can use these funds for the conservation of wildlife and their habitats.

“At Stone Valley, our basic strategy has been to remove overstory trees and expand the footprint of the shrubland habitat that still remains,” explains Clay Lutz, a wildlife diversity biologist for the Game Commission. Key contributors to the effort, in addition to the Game Commission and the landowner, Penn State, include Dave Putnam, a contract biologist for the Wildlife Management Institute; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife program; and the Ruffed Grouse Society through its Drummer Fund.'
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'...a new interpretive trail will feature colorful educational signs paid for in part by the local Red Brush Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society/American Woodcock Society.'

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Mission Statement

Established in 1961, the Ruffed Grouse Society is North America's foremost conservation organization dedicated to preserving our sporting traditions by creating healthy forest habitat for ruffed grouse, American woodcock and other wildlife. RGS works with landowners and government agencies to develop critical habitat utilizing scientific management practices.

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