Imagine thirteen “wild areas” within seven different Indiana state forests: large tracts of forests undisturbed by commercial logging and perfect for hiking, backpacking, hunting, foraging, mountain biking, horseriding, and camping in a wild forest setting. These wild areas would also provide critical deep forest habitat for many threatened and endangered species, including bats, neotropical migratory songbirds, reptiles, and amphibians.
These state wild areas will comprise 36,820 acres, or 24%, of Indiana’s state forest acreage. This proposal is a modest one. Pennsylvania, for example, has designated 60 wild areas. The goal? “To provide locations for scientific observation of natural systems, to protect examples of typical and unique plant and animal communities, and to protect outstanding examples of natural interest and beauty.”
In Indiana, a program of state wild areas would provide a place for recreating in wild nature that isn’t possible in a state nature preserve (off limits to most recreation) or at state parks (heavily developed with roads, buildings, etc.). The Wild Indiana campaign is a strong first step towards restoring a state forest management policy that balances the recreation and wilderness preservation with timber production.
What does the Wild Indiana campaign look like? It is a year-round effort to advance the issue with elected officials. And it is a vision that the IFA shared with Hoosiers around the state as we host events, table at festivals and speak at meetings.
How can you get involved?
- Read about the character of these wild areas.
- Learn more about the rationale for state wild areas in this white paper by IFA Executive Director Jeff Stant.
- Join one of five coalitions around the state who working locally to preserve these nearby wild areas.
- Communicate regularly with your state senator and representative—and Governor Holcomb–to express your support for legislation that sets aside some of Indiana’s public forests for future generations to enjoy them in their most primitive state.
- Sign the Change.org petition, below.
The Indiana Forest Alliance’s Wild Indiana campaign is made possible with support from the Herbert Simon Family Foundation, the McKinney Family Foundation, Change Happens Foundation, and Patagonia Works.