Act Now to Protect Indiana’s Wild Forests!

Tell Governor Mike Pence to establish State Wild Areas in Indiana’s state forests!  Call Governor Pence at 317-232-4567 or send him a message today!  The future of our state forests is at stake!

———————-

The Indiana Forest Alliance (IFA) is a non-profit statewide network of groups and individuals dedicated to the long-term health and well-being of Indiana’s native forests. We are volunteers and full-time staff working to provide accurate information to the people of Indiana and to involve them in efforts to protect and restore Indiana’s forests. We attempt to improve forest policies in the state through advocacy using education, grassroots political organizing, research, and litigation.

It is the Mission of the Indiana Forest Alliance to:

  1. Protect public forests in Indiana to preserve natural diversity and native wildlife that depend on deep forest
  2. Protect water quality
  3. Provide dispersed recreation opportunities on public forest land
  4. Hold government agencies accountable to state and federal laws pertaining to public forests
  5. Encourage responsible, sustainable, and profitable timber management on private land

———————-

Please Join IFA.  Your support today helps IFA protect Indiana’s public forests for future generations.

Blue River

Blue River, Hellbender State Wild Area, Harrison-Crawford State Forest

FINAL ECOBLITZ REPORT, 2014

Ecoblitz Postponed Due to Tropical Storm Bill

Red-backed Salamander

Red-backed Salamander

The Indiana Forest Alliance and its partners have decided to postpone this weekend’s Ecoblitz, due to heavy rains from Tropical Storm Bill.  Two teams of experts and volunteers were scheduled to survey for birds and herptiles (reptiles and amphibians) in the 900-acre Ecoblitz area in the heart of the Morgan-Monroe State Forest Back Country Area.  The surveys will now take place on Saturday, June 27th, and Sunday, June 28th.  This purpose of the Ecoblitz is to document the biological diversity of an intact, interior hardwood forest ecosystem.  This is done through a comprehensive inventory of flora and fauna in this tract, with the assistance of experts from a dozen colleges and universities, as well as citizen experts.  If you would like to accompany one of these expert-led teams next weekend or at any of our future Ecoblitz weekends, contact Audrey Moore ataudrey@indianaforestalliance.org.

SAVING OUR PUBLIC FORESTS FOR PUBLIC USES

Jackson-Washington State Forest

Jackson-Washington State Forest

A CALL TO ACTION!

THE TIME HAS COME FOR EVERY HOOSIER TO KNOW THAT OUR STATE GOVERNMENT IS CUTTING DOWN OUR STATE FORESTS TO SELL THE TREES YOU AND I OWN FOR BARELY HALF THEIR MARKET PRICE.  This profound tragedy would not be occurring in Indiana if enough Hoosiers knew it was happening. State officials are robbing future Hoosier generations of the chance to see and enjoy the majestic public forests that have returned to our state forests.

U.S. Census data indicates more than 2 million people live within 20 miles of our state forests, and more than 14.5 million live within 100 miles of them.  This is one in every three Hoosiers and one heck of a lot of Americans!  While they only comprise 158,000 acres (barely 3% of the forests in Indiana), and are not depended upon by the timber industry (which gets over 90% of its wood from private lands), the state forests make up much of the only areas in our state and region where wilderness recreation like long distance hiking, backpacking and primitive camping can occur.

Saving those precious forests from the ax immeasurably improves our quality of life and makes good economic sense. U.S. Forest Service Budget Data indicates recreation supports nearly five times as many jobs in communities surrounding our national forests as logging, generating 205,000 jobs and contributing $13.6 billion to America’s gross domestic product each year.  Local communities could benefit much more from tourism that the state is also spending money to promote if these public trees were left standing than cut down.

Mossop Ridge, Yellowwood State Forest

Mossop Ridge, Yellowwood State Forest

Yet judging from the unprecedented level of commercial logging underway in Indiana’s state forests, the people who appear to be the most unconcerned about these facts are the very managers of the state forests!  At their current rate of cutting, nearly every tract within our state forests will have been extensively logged within 15 more years.  Majestic stands of forests returning to their old growth conditions will be stunted and left in a perpetual state of recovery from logging or reduced to stumps entirely as the state employs more of its planned clearcutting.  New gravel roads will snake down virtually every ridge and up every valley, leaving hundreds of slopes and ravines crisscrossed with skidder trails.

For the last two sessions of our Legislature, we’ve introduced bills to save the wildest parts of our state forests from this destruction, but have gotten nowhere thanks to the steadfast opposition of Governor Pence’s Department of Natural Resources and the timber industry.  This has to change!

This month, the Indiana Forest Alliance (IFA) is launching a new campaign to tell the story of this destruction to tens of thousands of Hoosiers, and WE NEED YOUR HELP TO SPREAD THE WORD! Scofield Editorial has produced a 2 minute film that powerfully summarizes the destruction currently underway in our state forests and asks every Hoosier to get involved and save our beautiful heritage.  That film is right here on our website. We’ve also launched radio and TV commercials that will show Hoosiers what they can do to stop the logging. We are employing social media: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and hope you’ll help us make the message go viral! Most of all, be a part of the movement! Become a part of our organization, and then contact Governor Pence to demand that he stop this logging and urge everyone you know to do so as well.

IT IS TIME FOR EVERY HOOSIER TO SAY, ENOUGH! STOP CUTTING DOWN OUR PRECIOUS PUBLIC FORESTS!

 

Jeff Stant

Executive Director

Indiana Forest Alliance

 

Contact: Call Governor Pence at: 317-232-4567

Mail him a letter at: 200 West Washington Street

Indianapolis, IN  46204

Or go to http://www.in.gov/gov/2333.htm to email him.

Mother’s Day Slow Saunter Announced!

What:  Second Sunday Slow Saunter Series
When: Sunday, May 10th, 2015, 11:30 p.m.
Where: Harrison-Crawford State Forest
http://indianaforestalliance.org/event/may-2015-slow-saunter/
Blue River, Hellbender State Wild Area

Blue River, Hellbender State Wild Area

For this month’s Second Sunday Slow Saunter, we will visit the proposed Hellbender and Cold Friday State Wild Areas, both in Harrison-Crawford State Forest.  We will start off the day at the firetower in O’Bannon Woods State Park, hiking north into the proposed Hellbender State Wild Area and skirting the serene Blue River, followed by a picnic lunch.  We will then drive down Cold Friday Road for a hike through the southern part of the Cold Friday State Wild Area, including part of the Adventure Hiking Trail.

View from fire tower in O'Bannon Woods State Park

View from fire tower in O’Bannon Woods State Park

Meet at the firetower just inside the gate of O’Bannon Woods State Park near Corydon at 11:30 a.m. (The hike is free, but there may be a $5 gate fee to get into the park.) Folks carpooling from Bloomington should meet at the Seminary Square Kroger at 9:00 a.m.  This will be an all-day outing, so come prepared!  Email myke@indianaforestalliance.org for more information.

Division of Forestry Releases New Strategic Plan for the State Forests Without Public Input

Ferdinand State Forest, 2014

Ferdinand State Forest, 2014

New plan calls for increased clearcutting, possible fee structure for state forest recreation.

Last week, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources – Division of Forestry (DOF) released a new 2015-2019 Strategic Plan.  This plan provides details on the DOF’s vision for the next five years of state forest management, which includes a continuation of the current unprecedented level of commercial logging in Indiana’s state forests.

One goal set forth in the new Strategic Plan is to “utilize existing and create additional methods to solicit meaningful input” from Hoosiers.  The DOF, however, neglected to provide the public with a single opportunity to comment on the plan before it was finalized.  This is a stark contrast from the process by which previous Strategic Plans, including the 2008-2013 Strategic Plan, were developed, which included public hearings and a 30-day public comment period on a draft version.  Most of the written comments submitted on that plan asked the DOF to exclude areas from timbering to develop into “old growth” forests or called for less commercial logging in our state forests.

“In addition to the heavy logging and a new emphasis on clearcutting, this Plan calls for the consolidation of state forests by selling or trading off smaller separated tracts of state forests, another idea that could be pretty controversial given the limited acreage of Indiana’s state forests,” states Jeff Stant, Executive Director of the Indiana Forest Alliance.

“The irony that the Division of Forestry would promise a concerted effort to solicit public input on state forest management in  in a plan for which they solicited no public input  cannot be understated,” adds  Stant.  “This is part of a pattern in which the Division of Forestry continues to ignore broad public support for a more balanced state forest management policy, one that prioritizes outdoor recreation and wild forest habitat over commercial logging,” concludes Stant.

The Indiana Forest Alliance is encouraging Hoosiers to call Governor Pence to express your support for the establishment of State Wild Areas in our state forests, as well as increased public oversight of state forest management.  Governor Pence can be reached at 317-232-4567.

You can read the DOF’s 2015-2019 Strategic Plan here.

“To Conserve Unimpaired” Author to Speak at IU Maurer School of Law on April 20th

keiter-2015On Monday, Apr. 20, Professor Robert Keiter from the University of Utah will talk about his newest book, which argues the goal of the national parks “to conserve unimpaired” is not as straightforward as it seems. Keiter will comment on law, history, ecology, and culture in the course of describing the past and prescribing a future for the National Park System. He welcomes questions and discussion.

Open to the public. Lunch provided. Law School Rm. 120, noon.

 

IFA Seeks Volunteers for Upcoming Ecoblitz!

IFA Seeks Volunteers for our Upcoming Ecoblitz!

The Indiana Forest Alliance (IFA), Hoosier Environmental Council (HEC), Hoosier Herpetological Society, Hoosier Mushroom Society, Southcentral Indiana Chapter of the Indiana Plant and Wildflower Society, Knob and Valley Audubon Society (KAVAS), and Winding Waters Sierra Club, Greater Bloomington Sierra Club, and Hoosier Chapter of the Sierra Club, among others, are preparing to launch, for the second year, a comprehensive inventory, an “Ecoblitz,” of flora and fauna, on approximately 800 acres along the East Fork of Honey Creek in the heart of the Morgan-Monroe/Yellowwood State Forest Back Country Area, including the Low Gap Nature Preserve.

Our objective is to document the biological value of this tract of maturing, contiguous hardwood forest. 

The Ecoblitz will start on April 18 & 19th, and will continue on into the rest of summer and fall.

2015 Ecoblitz Teams April 18-19 April 25-26 May 10 May 23 May 30-31 June 6-7 June 20-21 Aug.8-9 Sept.12-13
Vascular Plants X(19) X(25) X X X
Fungi X X X X
Bryophytes X
Spiders X X
Insects X X
Insects- Beetles X X
Aquatic Macroinvertebrates & Fish X X
Amphibians & Reptiles X X X X
Birds X X X
Small Mammals X X X

*Butterflies – Jeff Belth will survey once a month in April, May, June, July and August, with dates to be determined based on the availability of sunshine.


We are seeking volunteers— both those with particular scientific expertise or interest and also folks who want to learn more about the flora and fauna of this area —
to help make this event a success!

Tasks might include:

*joining a survey team with a scientist team leader to help identify flora or fauna

*preparing or serving food and refreshments

*cataloging/handling data as it comes in from the field

*shuttling participants from base camp to the survey area

*registering participants and scientists as they arrive

Box Turtle in Wolf Creek, Low Gap State Wild Area

Box Turtle in Wolf Creek, Low Gap State Wild Area

Tecumseh Trail, Miller Ridge State Wild Area

Tecumseh Trail, Miller Ridge State Wild Area

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please contact Audrey Moore at audrey@indianaforestalliance.org or 812-269-6404 ASAP, if you would like to volunteer during any of the dates listed above, and whether or not you have particular talents to offer for this Ecoblitz.

 

Reportback From March Slow Saunter in Jackson-Washington State Forest

A dozen hikers brave the steep terrain of the proposed Starve Hollow State Wild Area.

March Second Sunday Slow Saunter in Starve Hollow State Wild Area

March Second Sunday Slow Saunter in Starve Hollow State Wild Area

The month of March featured an excellent Slow Saunter with equally enjoyable weather and companions. Hikers from throughout the state converged on the proposed Starve Hollow State Wild Area, meeting at the trailhead near the Vallonia State Tree Nursery. Hikers hailing from the direction of Bloomington were thrilled to come across a magnificent field filled with sandhill cranes resting and snacking, finding a brief repose from their travels.  Brilliant sunlight reflected off the snow-covered ground. Finally, after a challenging winter, some sunlight! We were an eager group of hikers anticipating some of the most beautiful views around our state, and spirits were high.

Slow Saunterers in Starve Hollow State Wild Area, March 2015

Slow Saunterers in Starve Hollow State Wild Area, March 2015

Our fearless leader allowed no one to be left behind and provided verbal orientation for our compatriots who arrived later, as well as some sweet trail eats. Several people came to know and love Larabars as a result. Those hikers with an eye towards photography had numerous moments to capture the beauty of Starve Hollow in one of the month’s first days of sunshine. The transparent, papery beech leaves surrounding us were subjects of some excellent photographs, as were the views from the tops of several steep hills. Our change in trails due to super soggy conditions had us bravely fording (ok, hopping over) the creek running through our path on several occasions. We each got a work out at the mercy of the three large hills we traversed, with sweet rewards each time. We took this as a small price to pay for some rugged hiking in a magnificent area we all deeply connected with.

Looking west from summit clearing in Starve Hollow State Wild Area.

Looking west from summit clearing in Starve Hollow State Wild Area.

Our last climb provided views of the surrounding Jackson-Washington State Forest and beyond to the Floyd’s Knobs, giving us a context for the topography of the region. Visible stumps from harvested timber met us at the peak of this last lookout point, putting a sobering exclamation point at the end of a stunning hike.   The damaged land seemed to be begging for our attention, as if it had called us each to that place, juxtaposing such beauty with loss.

 

Please join us in experiencing what our State Forests have to offer each of us by coming out to the next Second Sunday Slow Saunter. Find details of all future Slow Saunters on our Events page!

Heart of the River Press Conference, March 20, 2015

Last Friday, Heart of the River hosted a press conference in Anderson, Indiana, to respond to the Phase II feasibility study of the proposed Mounds Reservoir project.  Jeff Stant, executive director of the Indiana Forest Alliance, and Professor Marian Berky of Anderson University spoke.  You can view a video of part of the press conference below:

-->