Thomas Tokarski

February 16, 2008

A devastating pestilence has invaded our beloved state forests. It is not an exotic insect, virus or blight. It is our invasive governor and his misdirected Department of Natural Resources. They have increased logging in our forests by 500 percent. Some of that logging involves clearcuts, where all trees are removed in 10-acre swaths. The backcountry of Morgan-Monroe State Forest, where logging had been off limits for decades, is now being carved up.

Our forests are areas of surpassing beauty that are greatly appreciated by Hoosier families for hiking, camping and personal reflection. They are sacred places that all citizens are free to visit to escape the harshness of our chaotic world. Our forests are some of the rarest and most valuable refuges in our state.

Income from the sale of these majestic trees amounts to a shockingly tiny part of Indiana's general revenues, about 0.02-0.03 percent. The value of these trees to our citizens, when they are left standing, is far greater and is never-ending. Decimating the natural wonders of our state cannot be considered a gain except on the narrowest of balance sheets.

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