NWTF’s Spezze Speaks before House Forum on Wildfire Prevention and Forest Health


EDGEFIELD, S.C.—The National Wild Turkey Federation’s National Director of Field Conservation Tom Spezze spoke last week to House Committee on Natural Resources Republicans on the behalf of active forest management and its importance to prevent catastrophic wildfire and encourage biodiversity.

Spezze was one of several witnesses who spoke on the importance of collaborating with federal, state and local government land management agencies and private forestland owners to achieving the pace and scale of work needed to protect large, vulnerable landscapes, watersheds and communities from destructive wildfires, while also creating resilient habitats for wildlife and recreation.

“An all-hands, all-lands and all-brands approach is the only way to get it done. Catastrophic wildfire doesn’t know boundaries. Jurisdictions can’t matter,” Spezze said in affirmation of the importance of a Shared Stewardship approach to forest management. He also referenced the Rocky Mountain Restoration Initiative, a Shared Stewardship model convened by the NWTF and USDA Forest Service in Colorado, as an example of where cross jurisdictional collaboration is making a difference.

“[The Rocky Mountain Restoration Initiative] has brought a collaborative power — what we call the RMRI effect,” he said. “It created an environment for a shared investment in a shared problem for a shared benefit when those forests are restored at the right level.”

Other speakers included: Governor Greg Gianforte of Montana; Jim Hubbard, former USDA deputy undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment; Jim Durglo, fire technical specialist for the Intertribal Timber Council; and Commissioner Joel Bousman of Sublette County, Wyoming. 

Members of the House Committee on Natural Resources in attendance were: Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-AK), Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT), Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), Rep. Pete Stauber (R-MN), Rep. Russ Fulcher (R-ID), Rep. Jay Obernolte (R-CA), Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-NM), Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) and Rep. Blake Moore (R-UT).

Click here to watch Spezze’s testimony, or for the full forum recording, click here.

About the National Wild Turkey Federation

When the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in 1973, there were about 1.3 million wild turkeys in North America. After decades of work, that number hit a historic high of almost 7 million turkeys. To succeed, the NWTF stood behind science-based conservation and hunters' rights. Today, the NWTF is focused on the future of hunting and conservation through its Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative. Since 2012, this 10-year initiative has already eclipsed goals of conserving or enhancing more than 4 million acres of essential wildlife habitat, recruiting or retaining more than 1.5 million hunters and opening access to more than 500,000 acres for hunting and other recreation opportunities. This critical work will continue to impact wildlife habitat and our great outdoors in the final years of the initiative.