Mark Stoops, Democratic candidate for Monroe County Commissioner District 2, condemns the Daniels administration's increased logging of local state forests.

"Against the public's wishes, the DNR continues to decimate our state forests for short-term gain. The current plan being pushed by Mitch Daniels will have increased logging to 10 times the past rate by next year, and would allow clear cut areas up to 10 acres in size, The damage to our local parks from logging in Morgan-Monroe and Yellowwood forests will take a century to undo" says Stoops.

Stoops says three timber sales have already taken place along the most popular hiking trail in Morgan-Monroe State Forest. "These aren't just small trees and undergrowth, these are the biggest, healthiest trees in our forest, and the state is selling them for pennies on the dollar." Stoops says logging state forests creates a net loss for state and local governments. "We are subsidizing the cutting of trees in our state forests. The amount it costs the taxpayer to clear logging roads and log yards, staff to mark and catalog trees, and to set up sales outstrips logging proceeds. That also doesn't include the long term damage to the forest and Lake Monroe watershed, as logs are dragged up and down steep ravines and along creek beds."

Last year Monroe County received $87,000 from the state from timber sales. That is up from the typical $35,000 or so in previous years. "It sounds like a lot of money for cash-strapped local governments," says Stoops, "but in reality, that amounts to just $12 per tree, and less than $70 per tree for the state, even before expenses. Most of Monroe County's timber land is owned by private individuals. By subsidizing the cutting of trees on public land we are undercutting private sales. No land owner is going to sell their trees for $70 a tree, and no private land owner would let a logger destroy the topsoil and stream beds like the DNR does on our public lands."

Stoops also points out that a large part of our local tourism dollars are generated by visitors to local parks. "Taken as a whole, tourism is Monroe County's third largest employer and generates over $250 million dollars annually for local businesses." According to Convention and Visitor's Bureau estimates, State and National parks and forests are our second largest tourist draw. "Annually, 2 million tourists come to Monroe County forests for hiking and recreation. Why in the world would we jeopardize that?" asks Stoops.

Stoops says the Daniels administration forced legislation through at the state level to exempt the DNR from having to do any kind of environmental impact assessment before logging public lands, and also removed 'best management practice' checks of logging operations. "This is just another example of Mitch Daniels selling off Indiana resources for some short term cash, without regard for the long term damage to our environment and our economy. I believe that Monroe County can lead the way in requiring the state government to perform a true cost benefit analysis of logging our state forests."

Stoops believes that the state needs to hear from citizens, and the best person to contact is IDNR Director Ron Carter at or mail Director Carter at the IDNR office at 402 W. Washington St, Rm 256, Indianapolis, IN 46204. Also, there is more information and links available at

Stoops is opposed in the democratic primary for County Commissioner by ex-Sheriff Steve Sharp. Currently no republicans have filed to run for the District 2 seat.

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