The efforts to protect Yellowwood State Forest continue.
Even though 300 acres of the 2,700-acre forest were logged in January 2018 despite intense opposition, a new effort has emerged to protect the remaining forest. Recently, IFA’s Executive Director Jeff Stant and Conservation Director Rae Schnapp, as well as Indiana scientists Leslie Bishop, Paul Rothrock, and John Whitaker submitted a proposal calling for the protection of the Back Country Area (BCA) of Morgan Monroe/Yellowwood State Forests as a High Conservation Value Forest (HCVF).
Last fall, Governor Eric Holcomb met with IFA and committed to considering our proposal. In a letter submitted with the proposal, IFA reminded the governor that old growth forests in Indiana are extremely under-represented and that the Forest Stewardship Council recommends that more of Indiana’s State Forests be managed to restore secondary old growth conditions. The proposal is well-supported by research conducted as part of the IFA’s Ecoblitz taxonomic survey.
The IFA also released a press statement regarding the HCVF.
How Can IFA Members Help?
- Write to Governor Holcomb and ask him to support the HCVF proposal. Contact him at www.in.gov/gov/2752.htm or 317-232-4567.
- Write letters to the editor.
History of Yellowwood Effort
In November 2017, the State of Indiana sold off 299 acres of our public forests in the Yellowwood BCA. This forest is at the center of Indiana Forest Alliance’s multi-year survey of flora & fauna known as the Ecoblitz. This forest is home to many threatened, rare, and endangered species. This forest is used by campers, hikers, backpackers, and hunters. This forest is part of our natural heritage, contains at least 50 trees more than 100 years old, and deserved to be protected. The timber harvest happened in January 2018.
One legislator visited in April 2018 to see the devastating outcome of the cut.
When the Division of Forestry sold off the forest to commercial logging companies, 225 people showed up to protest.
[View a 15-minute documentary film called “Saving Yellowwood” made by John & Hannah Boggs: https://vimeo.com/250051417].
The state’s largest newspaper endorsed pausing this logging plan. View the Indianapolis Star editorial here.
240 scientists from universities across Indiana signed a letter encouraging Governor Holcomb to set aside portions of our state forests from logging! And the Governor received 5,070 comments in opposition to the logging before it happened.
Resources (click to view):
Speaking for the trees: Article in Brown County Democrat, 11/14/17
“Dear Division of Forestry…” [blog post rebutting Division of Forestry’s claims]
View the Yellowwood State Forest Back Country Area (Flickr)
Timber Sale Notice- Yellowwood State Forest Back Country Area
1981 DNR Press Release Establishing the Morgan-Monroe/ Yellowwood State Forest Back Country Area
Indiana State Forester John Siefert Responds to Public Outcry, IFA Responds
IFA Rebuttal to Division of Forestry’s Response to Public Comments
Save Yellowwood Flyer (PDF) – To Print and Circulate
Logging in Yellowwood Back Country Area Map
A Matter of Heritage: A Forest with Civil War-Era Trees Should Not Be Logged
Defending Your Right to Wilderness Recreation: 5 More Actions You Can Take
Citizens to Gov. Holcomb: “Value of our state forests cannot be measured in board feet & dollars”
Tell the Governor Now: It’s Wrong to Log this Brown County Forest, and Here’s Why