Next Steps After the Moral Victory at Yellowwood

The sun was not even up when forest advocates started to gather at the Yellowwood State Forest Office. More than two hundred showed up to protest the most ironic timber sale of all time: a low-ball timber bidder won the right to kill 1,733 trees in the Yellowwood Back Country Area for just $108,000, less than $70 per tree. Add to that: just before the sale, a philanthropist (president of Castlewood, a furniture products company in Tell City, Indiana), offered $150,000 to preserve the forest – making the state’s sell-off of our public forests even more egregious. And our request to cancel this logging even more reasonable.

“The debate about our state forests is about politics,” said IFA Executive Director Jeff Stant in a statement to the media. “It’s about quality of life in Indiana, the conservation of our heritage, and public input in a democracy. We must insist that some of our state forests remain forever wild, for our emotional well-being and the survival of many declining forest-dependent species.

We need to continue to hold politicians accountable, especially Governor Holcomb, who refused to intervene despite our thousands of contacts to his office.

The timber sale protest was front page news in the IndyStar, and was covered by WTHR and WRTV. A story by the Associated Press reached as far as the Seattle Times. View images and video of the protest here.

WHAT’S NEXT?

The company that won the bid to log – Hamilton Logging – has until Thanksgiving to sign the contract with the Department of Natural Resources. Between now and then, you can:

  1. Write your local paper: participate in a huge new letter-to-the-editor effort. Speak from the heart! Or look for talking points from IFA next week.
  2. Keep the contacts coming! 317-232-4567 or GovHolcomb@gov.in.govask him to accept the $150,000 offer — and to meet with a group of the 228 scientists who signed the letter asking to set aside areas like the Yellowwood back County Area.
  3. Sign up to canvass starting next week in Brown, Marion and surrounding counties: contact IFA Outreach Director sandra@indianaforestalliance.org to sign up.
  4. Make a contribution to IFA of any amount and get a yard sign (more being printed as we speak)
  5. Join the encampment on private property at the end of Possum Trot Road next to the forest to be logged.
  6. Look for invitations to other strategic protests
  7. Make sure you are signed up for IFA’s e-blast to get the latest calls-to-action via e-mail.

Meanwhile, IFA is facilitating communications between state legislators, scientists, donors, and the Governor. And we are continuing to promote the philanthropist’s $150,000 offer. And encouraging the State and Hamilton Logging to cancel the contract to log this forest.

Those who believe that public forests are for logging alone accuse the Indiana Forest Alliance and our members of being “emotional.” Make no mistake: we are passionate about Indiana’s wilderness. And there is rock-hard science to support our views. All that stands in the way is politics. But this is a not a “red” or “blue” issue. We all need plentiful, healthy, old-growth forests – so rare in Indiana today. So we will speak out in our democracy as long as there are forests to fight for. Thank you for joining this effort!