Letter: Timbering frustration won’t ‘soon turn into apathy’


To the editor:

It should be obvious by now to residents of Brown County and even visitors that the mission of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources is to provide low-cost timber to the hardwood lumber industry. Why else would the DNR director feel compelled to write a guest column in The Democrat stating that our forests were being “carefully managed”?

In the article, which appeared in a number of newspapers throughout the state, the director stated that forest management practices were based on science. If that were the case, why would he ignore the scientists, 228 of them, who urged the governor to set aside the backcountry area to protect habitat for endangered plants and animals? He must have read the letter, because he opened his column with the same line that appeared in the second paragraph of the scientists’ letter: “A forest is more than trees for timber.”

The professionals referred to in his article are professional foresters from the timber industry and not environmental scientists.

In a Senate committee hearing for the old-growth forest bill, the director relinquished the time allotted to him for comment to a lobbyist for the timber industry. That same lobbyist was allowed to cross the barricade set up at a recent timber sale while the media and the public were restricted to the other side.

The winning bid at that sale worked out to about $68 per tree, and that’s almost the price of firewood.

Those of us who care about our public land have been frustrated in our efforts to set aside even 10 percent of our public forests as old growth, the way it once was. The governor has so far allowed the director, who is a lawyer and economist, to plunder our public forests.

Perhaps he thinks our frustration will soon turn into apathy. It won’t.

Curt Mayfield, Nashville, board secretary of the Indiana Forest Alliance

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