Photograph by Steven Higgs

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources continues its frenetic logging pace and is putting nearly 3,000 trees up for timber sales on Nov. 15. The sales will be in the Morgan-Monroe and Yellowwood State Forests.

News Release
Indiana Forest Alliance

The Indiana Division of Forestry has announced three timber sales totaling nearly 3,000 trees on just 300 acres of the Yellowwood and Morgan-Monroe State Forests. The sales will take place at the Yellowwood State Forest office on Nov. 19.

The sales are located on Dubois Ridge Road just south of Lanam Ridge Road and a portion of Morgan-Monroe near Bruce Road. One of the sales is adjoining another sale. The increase in sales on the state land represents a fourfold increase since the beginning of the Daniels administration, from 3 million board feet to 12 million board feet sold from the public forests each year. The marked trees are primarily yellow poplar and various oak species.

Each sale requires bulldozers and other heavy equipment to open up logging roads and yards and lay road-grade gravel for the machinery needed for a logging operation. These roads bring in or clear the way for invasive species to find their way into the forest, as more light is introduced through the removal of trees. Forest species that have been growing together are weakened, and soils are denuded through the logging operation.

The three sales have sparked the concern of neighboring landowners. Several have contacted the Indiana Forest Alliance out of concern. "I've had families contact me since the sales were announced last week," commented Rhonda Baird, director of Indiana Forest Alliance. "People are concerned. They use these forests, and they don't want their lives or their properties devalued because they live near the forest."

The Brown County sales are near the site of Prometheus -- a former tree-sit site that led to the cancellation of a timber sale.

"Members of the public are encouraged to come to the sale and register their opposition to the sale of public assets for private profit."

These sales come on the heels of a legislative study hearing that considered whether to protect 3,000 acres of the nearby Backcountry Area. That legislation was allowed to die without any discussion by the members of the study committee, despite the fact that over four hours of testimony were offered. Even the Division of Forestry presented testimony that Indiana's forests are dying off at about 3 percent per year.

Forests typically can handle 1 percent die off each year, according to the testimony given. No clear explanation of the die-off was given.

Every poll taken on the issue has shown that the majority of Hoosiers are opposed to commercial timber sales on public land.

Members of the public are encouraged to come to the sale and register their opposition to the sale of public assets for private profit. The sale begins promptly at 9 a.m. at Yellowwood State Forest Office.

To register a complaint about the sales, contact John Davis, Assistant Director of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources at jdavis@dnr.in.gov.

For more information about the sales or Indiana Forest Alliance or to make a donation to Indiana Forest Alliance, contact Rhonda Baird at 812-332-4878.

Rhonda Baird is the Director of the Indiana Forest Alliance. She can be reached at Ifa.director@gmail.com.