So far, you’ve generated hundreds of contacts to Gov. Holcomb’s office to ask him to halt the planned logging in Yellowwood State Forest and the backcountry area. Here, we share powerful excerpts of messages from outraged citizens to Gov. Holcomb’s office:
FROM A DOCTOR:
“Dear Gov. Holcomb: I am a Republican, a lover of nature and our great state forests, and a member of the Indiana Forest Alliance. I am originally from Chicago, but have lived and worked in Bloomington as a physician the better part of my life, and I want to preserve the land and its beauty for all time for our children. For the last 12 years or so, the old, natural forests, esp. here in Southern Indiana, have been extensively and aggressively logged as if they were just some exploitable commodity. But they are really life itself for our fellow travelers here on earth, the animals in the wild, and for us who love it for recreation. And the foresters sell off our timber at rock bottom prices to the logging industry, so Indiana citizens don’t benefit and animals lose their homes….
You are in charge of the Dept. of Forestry, which made a commitment to manage all of the forest within this Back Country Area as ‘older forest.’ Please oversee and greatly reduce these logging plans, and let the forest in these tracts return to the old growth condition. Please institute a more responsible management plan for our state forests that will set aside more areas for ecological conservation and wilderness recreation for us and our children!”
FROM A HIKER:
“Dear Gov. Holcomb: I am writing to ask you to help continue to battle to protect Indiana forests from extensive logging. I grew up in Henry County, where my family owned, and protected, a tiny piece of forest. I spent most of my childhood outdoors, playing and exploring nature. As an older adult living in a Johnson County suburb, I have very little access to the forest, and no ability to ‘buy’ a piece. Morgan-Monroe State Forest and Yellowwood have been “my” forests for years. I have hiked, camped, backpacked, participated in trail runs, and volunteered there. I have through-hiked Tecumseh Trail three times and combine through-hiked Tecumseh and Knobstone Trails once. I now have cancer and my options are limited. The trails at both forests are being systematically shut down, rerouted, damaged, and if reopened, have been turned into eyesores.
… What was once my sanctuary from stress has become a mud bog of lost hope and despair. While the State Parks and Nature Preserves do not have logging, they are very busy places and fairly expensive to those on a limited income. Back packing is almost exclusively a State Forest activity, and even that is limited to Tecumseh Trail until you get down to HNF. The Low Gap Area of Morgan Monroe State Forest is one of the most fascinating places in mid-central Indiana. I can still remember the first time we took our children there for a three mile hike, thinking we had just entered a prehistoric land. That absolutely must be protected!”
FROM AN ECOBLITZ VOLUNTEER:
Dear Gov. Holcomb: I am deeply dismayed that the Division of Forestry (DOF) has posted plans to log 299 acres in Yellowwood State Forest that fall within the Morgan-Monroe/Yellowwood Back Country Area. Specifically, these are Tracts 2, 3 and 4 in Compartment 13. For the past four years I’ve participated in the Indiana Forest Alliance’s “Ecoblitz,” primarily as a member of the vascular plant team, helping to document the rich diversity of flora and fauna in this Back Country Area, including rare, threatened, and endangered (RTE) species….
I have commented in the past on numerous DOF Draft Resource Management Guides (DRMGs) and frequently noted that no thorough review or species inventory of flora/fauna had been conducted to determine the presence of rare, threatened, and/or endangered species in the affected tracts. Unfortunately, this is also the case with Yellowwood Compartment 13, Tracts 2, 3 and 4. Each DRMG states that a “Natural Heritage Database Review” was completed for the tract (in 2013 for Tract 3 and in 2016 for Tracts 2 and 4). What this indicates is that DOF staff searched the database of identified populations of RTEs, which is maintained by the Division of Nature Preserves and rarely updated…
I was at the Indiana Forest Alliance rally at the Statehouse on February 20, when 650 or more citizens gathered to express their strong support for greater forest protections, including the setting aside of 10% of our state forests from commercial logging. This diverse assembly included school groups, environmentalists, scientists, business experts, faith leaders, etc., and both Republican and Democratic legislators were featured speakers. All of us who attended know the importance of our state forests, which cannot be measured in board feet and dollars. Now more than ever, with a changing climate and habitat rapidly disappearing for many at-risk plant and animal species, we need to leave some areas of forest undisturbed, so that complex ecosystems can continue to thrive and support our native flora and fauna.”
FROM A WATER ADVOCATE:
“Dear Gov. Holcomb: When the Lake Lemon Conservation District is now looking at spending more than $4 Million on dredging, why are DNR officials continuing to aggressively log in that watershed? The models estimating the $4M does not even take in consideration the massive increase in logging this past decade. This is insane: DNR sells logging contracts to pay for budget cuts and then forces private citizens to have their Lake dredged. What about Lake Monroe, the drinking water source for 120k+ people and recreation venue for one million annually? When the DNR logs in that watershed, how much sediment flows into the Lake? How many small creeks are silted and creatures destroyed?…
I am not anti-logging. But it needs to be done in a responsible way that issues like invasive plant species, erosion control ect are honestly addressed and we conserve what we promised to protect. DNR’s zeal to log for short term gain ignores the long term impact of these actions.”
Join the chorus and contact Gov. Holcomb by phone at 317-232-4567 (Monday – Friday), his online e-mail submission form, or via US mail. Contact info here: http://www.in.gov/gov/2752.htm.
Thank you for raising your voice in defense of Indiana’s forests.