Letter: Division going too far with logging

To the editor:

The Division of Forestry is going too far.

As a fifth generation Johnson County resident, I am disturbed by the rate of logging. This is especially true for some of the more unique nearly old growth forests like are found in the Yellowwood State Forest Backcountry.

Scientists from the Indiana Academy of Sciences have found that this forest, due to less logging over the past few decades, has species that have been found nowhere else in Indiana. The Division of Forestry is going to change this by logging in the most pristine areas of the state forests. While the division of forestry is mandated to log in state forests, legislation also calls for protection of wildlife habitat, watershed resources and recreational activities.

I have nothing against logging and own a forest where logging has occurred. We all have special places and I wouldn’t log where my favorite mushroom patch is located. For many, the uncut forest found in few places outside of the backcountry areas are those special places that are under the chopping block now.

Forest advocates believed these areas had been set aside by the state in the 1980s. Recently tourism officials in Brown and Monroe counties have called on the division of forestry to cut back on its harvesting plans. They recognize the impact on the area’s biggest industry and employer that this increased logging will cause. Myself, I want generations to come to have the opportunity to see a forest that is similar to the forest my relatives saw when they came to Indiana about 200 years ago.

A small preserve won’t do, as back then the massive old growth forests spanned 80 percent of the state. It’s time to give back. Contact Gov. Eric Holcomb and your legislators to let them know that saving this small piece of the state forests will not impact the operations of the division of forestry and is the right thing to do.

Tom Hougham