FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 18, 2015
Media Contact: Marianne Holland, (317) 702-4847
Indiana Department of Natural Resources Slashes Public Comment Opportunities on a New Plan for Unprecedented Logging of State Forests
(INDIANAPOLIS, IN)- The Division of Forestry (DOF) within the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has released a proposed new Strategic Plan for our state forests, ?IDNR DIVISION OF FORESTRY STRATEGIC DIRECTION 2015-2019? that will continue logging an average of 14 million board feet of trees every year from our state forests, at least 4 times more board feet per year than was logged from the state forests prior to 2005. In addition, this Plan:
- calls for more clearcutting
- proposes possible selling of state forest tracts deemed, ?non-essential?
- instead of designating any areas off limits to logging for hiking, back packing and backcountry camping, proposes more developed recreation facilities with new buildings, roads, cabins and shooting ranges
- proposes gate passes and user fees across the state forests to pay for this recreational infrastructure
The DOF is holding just the three following public meetings to gather input on this new Plan:
*Monday, September 21, 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Indiana State Museum, 3rd floor Museum Conference?Room, 650 W. Washington Street, Indianapolis;
*Tuesday, September 22, 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Honeywell Center, Nixon Room, 275 W. Market Street,?Wabash;
*Wednesday, September 23, 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Cool Springs Education Center, 9412 E. SR 64, Velpen,?which is about 8 miles west of Huntingburg on State Road 64.
In contradiction with their own Procedures Manual, Appendix I-J-1 (http://www.in.gov/dnr/forestry/files/manual/fo-I-J-1.pdf), which directs the DOF to solicit public input far in advance of adopting a Strategic Plan, the DOF held no scoping meetings to develop this Plan, nor will there be any public comment period as has occurred for previous Strategic Plans.
?IFA and six other organizations have asked the DNR to hold a 60-day public comment period on this Plan and more meetings in communities reeling from the adverse effects of this logging instead of making those folks drive hours through rush hour traffic and highway construction projects to be given a few minutes to present their concerns at these meetings,? states Jeff Stant, executive director of the Indiana Forest Alliance. ?There is no impending regulatory deadline to produce this Plan even though it has been two years since the previous Strategic Plan expired. After taking this long, if the DNR is genuinely interested in what Hoosiers have to say about the management of their state forests, it should adhere to its own guidelines to solicit public input on this Plan.?
To learn about the proposed 2015-2019 Strategic Plan, go to:?
*Editors? Note: Copies of the letter sent to DNR from IFA and six other organizations requesting a 60-day public comment period on this Plan will be emailed upon request.
About the Indiana Forest Alliance: 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 seek to hold corporations and government agencies accountable for their actions. We work to improve forest policies in the state through advocacy using education, grassroots organizing, research, and litigation. Want to learn more? Visit us at indianaforestalliance.org, on Facebook at facebook.com/indianaforestalliance or on Twitter at @INforests