RGS History 1990's

The 1990's -- Full Force Drumming...



The Ruffed Grouse Society’s roots are in the mountains. The organization, founded in the small Virginia town of Monterey, in the mountainous country near the West Virginia border, was granted a Virginia charter dated October 24, 1961 as The Ruffed Grouse Society of America.

The Society’s evolution continues through the 1990's as it adapts to meet its various challenges. What the Society might accomplish in the future, however, will owe much to past investments and achievements, especially those of the first 30 years, a quarter of a century plus of building on the principles of sound science and commonsense forest management.

RGS’ leaders, dissatisfied with the pace of progress up until 1977 decided to dramatically revamp the organization. What followed was a revitalization, and through the 1990's RGS implemented a comprehensive campaign to bring the cause of forest wildlife to the forefront of the conservation movement. 

INTO THE 1990's

Flight Plan, a Capital Campaign for the Ruffed Grouse Society is initiated. Flight Plan’s purpose is to allow the Society to significantly expand its major conservation programs, the Management Area Program and Coverts. By the end of 1990, contributions and pledges to Flight Plan total $1,600,000.

RGS receives the first of three annual $100,000 contributions from the Richard King Mellon Foundation. The money will be used to support new MAP projects on federal, state and county lands across the nation.

The Ruffed Grouse Society reaffirms its commitment to the woodcock as a sponsor of the Eighth Woodcock Symposium, held in Lafayette, Indiana.

By the close of the year, there are at least 285,000 acres of publicly owned forested land enrolled in MAP.

Gordon Gullion, "Mr. Grouse", passes away in September of 1991.

The Ruffed Grouse Society significantly expands its role at the national level as an advocate on behalf of forest wildlife. In June, the Society provides testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives in support of forest management as an essential tool in the conservation of forest wildlife.

By close of 1992, MAP involves 206 projects representing more than 335,000 acres. In addition, through the ongoing and expanding Coverts program, the Society is cooperating with conservation agencies in a number of states to present forest wildlife habitat improvement education to private landowners.

The area where Gordon Gullion conducted much of his research is renamed the Gordon Gullion Memorial Ruffed Grouse Management Unit by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The Trustees of the Richard King Mellon Foundation approve a five-year $750,000 grant to the Ruffed Grouse Society that ensures a further increase in cooperative partnerships between the Society and public-lands forest managers, particularly in those regions of the country where Society efforts to date have been limited.

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of land Management (BLM) and the Ruffed Grouse Society sign a memorandum of understanding. The memorandum allows the Society to cooperate as an official partner with BLM to conserve and improve forest habitat on lands under BLM’s jurisdiction.

The Society reaches another million-dollar milestone by exceeding $1 million in direct- grant payments for MAP projects on public lands.

The Flight Plan Campaign reaches its goal by raising a total of more than $2.5 million. The 17 members of the Ruffed Grouse Society National Board of Directors contribute a total of $851,500.

The Society’s Coverts Program, which is designed to bring wildlife habitat management training to private landowners, is expanded into 11 states.

The Ruffed Grouse Society becomes increasingly active in the development of forest management policy at the federal level, testifying before several House and Senate committees on relevant issues. In addition, the Society helps found the Wildlife Partners Network, a consortium of national wildlife conservation organizations dedicated to promoting science-based natural resource management and our hunting heritage.

The Ruffed Grouse Society initiates a strategic planning process that will guide the Society’s efforts on behalf of forest wildlife and sportsmen into the coming century.

The strategic plan develops and is given the formal title of Partners in Conservation. A cornerstone of Partners in Conservation is the establishment of a $6 million endowment that will support the activities of a corps of Society wildlife biologists working throughout the country. The Richard King Mellon Foundation pledges up to $3 million as a match for other contributions to the endowment fund.

Officially launching RGS’ Partners in Conservation era, Mark E. Banker joins the Society’s field staff as the first of the new forest wildlife biologists.

The Ruffed Grouse Society receives the forest industry’s American Forest & Paper Association Wildlife Stewardship Award. Named the year’s outstanding industry cooperator, the Society receives the award during the Association’s annual spring legislative conference in Washington, D.C. The Society is cited for its significant influence on the well-being of wildlife on managed private forests and its support of the concept of sustainable forests.

In ceremonies held at Cotton, Minnesota, in October, representatives of the Ruffed Grouse Society and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources formally dedicate a ruffed grouse management area to the memory of Gordon W. Gullion. The northern Minnesota management area is near the Whiteface River. It is one of three management areas named in Gullion’s honor. With another at Mille Lacs, the third is the Gordon W. Gullion Wildlife Management Area in Itasca County, Minnesota, and is managed by the Itasca County Land Department in cooperation with the Ruffed Grouse Society and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

RGS publishes its first Internet website www.ruffedgrousesociety.org.

Rick R. Horton, begins work in September as the forest wildlife biologist for Minnesota. Funding to help create and maintain his position is generated through a recent partnership between the Ruffed Grouse Society and Minnesota, with a $1 million Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCMR) grant helping to underwrite the support.

By December, the Ruffed Grouse Society has raised the initial $3 million in the Partners in Conservation campaign, matching the $3 million Richard King Mellon Foundation grant. This total of $6 million secures the Partners in Conservation endowment.

RGS fills a unique niche in the conservation world. No other organization dedicates itself to the improvement of forest wildlife habitat, and does so by actively seeking partnerships with those who have primary responsibility for the forests, including both public land managers and private landowners. At the core of the Society’s philosophy is that forests can be managed by science-based methods that benefit both the forests and the wildlife species that live within them.

Ruffed Grouse Society continues growing in complexity to meet the mounting challenges of forest wildlife habitat conservation, there have been remarkable changes. But what hasn’t changed is the attitude that started the whole thing.

“For all of us, it was a labor of love,” said Bruce Richardson, RGS’ first president, many years ago.

It remains so today.

Continue to the 2000's
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Created February 3, 2011
Revised February 20, 2012


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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