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Old Trees Targeted in Upcoming Timber Sale

A timber sale in some of Indiana's most popular forests begins on Nov. 9. (Dave Simcox)
A timber sale in some of Indiana's most popular forests begins on Nov. 9. (Dave Simcox)
November 2, 2017

BROWN COUNTY, Ind. – As the date approaches for the start of logging of 300 acres in the Yellowwood Backcountry Area of Indiana, Brown County residents are hoping to stop it.

The trees are set to be sold off next week in an area that covers Brown and parts of Monroe counties, and some of the trees are more than 150 years old.

Tourism officials also have stepped up to plea with the state, saying disturbing pristine wilderness areas could drastically impact the number of people visiting each year.

The outdoor recreation economy in Indiana generates $15.7 billion in consumer spending each year.

Anne Laker, director of communications and administration for the Indiana Forest Alliance, says making a quick buck is not worth jeopardizing the beauty of the state.

"What are our priorities here?” she questions. “Tourism and the use of these forests by tourists and outdoor recreation folks are more important than cashing in on $150,000 from this timber sale."

Laker says logging on state forests has increased 400 percent since 2002. She says many of the state's best hiking trails, and its only long-distance backpacking trails, run through the Morgan-Monroe and Yellowwood state forests.

Laker says despite residents saying they want the forests to be protected, the state has prioritized logging over recreational use.

"At least 400 people wrote in saying they are against this plan,” she points out. “Hundreds of thousands of calls have been generated at the governor's office, but still they have announced that they will put the trees up for bid on Nov. 9, and then logging could begin in December."

According to the latest U.S. Census data, more than 2 million people live within 20 miles of Indiana's state forests and more than 14.5 million people live within 100 miles of them.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - IN