Letter: Public lands shouldn’t be ‘investment opportunity’

To the editor:

Please allow me a few lines to respond to the gentleman from Zionsville’s rather lengthy letter.

First of all he didn’t address the primary issue, which is why does county government only receive 15 percent of the revenue from timber sales? In Ohio, county government receives 50 percent of the revenue. That seems about right to me.

Also, he used a lot of words trying to link two things together that don’t go together: logging and wildlife habitat.

Logging does not create habitat, only nature can do that. After logging is done, it will take five to 10 years before we begin to see what is referred to as early successional forest.

We already have plenty of early successional forest in Indiana. We also have plenty of open spaces. What we have very little of is contiguous, old-growth forest which is critical to the survival of many species of birds, animals and even certain plants. These forests only exist in southern Indiana and most of them are state forests.

He also implied that logging on state forests had not been done prior to 2005. Most everyone in Brown County knows that our state forests have always been logged; however, these timber sales were conducted by men who, while they wanted to obtain the value of certain trees, were most concerned with preserving the integrity of the forest. These men were known as conservationists.

The Division of Forestry’s current management plan can only be described as plunder.

Under their strategic plan, they intend to enter and log every single tract of the state forest system. Further, after logging is complete, certain tracts they believe to be too difficult to manage will be sold. This will set a precedent.

The Indiana Toll Road was sold and the money has been spent. The money from logging is being spent as fast as it comes in.

I would much regret to see our public lands become an investment opportunity for a private equity firm.

Curt Mayfield, Nashville


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