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Back country logging rights to be auctioned Thursday morning
Updated on: 07.24.13

Myke Luurtsema, coordinator at Hoosier Forest Watch, says a timber sale Thursday morning would be devastating to an area of Morgan-Monroe and Yellowwood state forests.

But John Seifert, director of the Division of Forestry at the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, said the sale is part of the DNR's regular tree harvesting.

The timber is scheduled for a public auction at 9 a.m. Thursday at the Yellowwood State Forest office in Brown County, along with three other sales of timber spread across the two forests. Private timber companies will bid to see who gets the rights to harvest the trees on this land.

If sold, more than 1,100 trees and 200,000 board-feet of timber would be logged from the back country area, an area defined by the DNR as a property in “a rectangular shape of at least 1,500 acres of land which is relatively free of improved roads and trails.” All four sales total nearly 7,500 trees and more than one million board-feet combined.

Luurtsema said a news release from 1981 by then-Gov. Robert Orr supports the idea that the back country should be left untouched.

“Users of the area should enter with the philosophy that they will disturb as little as possible the natural woodland ecosystem and that it will offer an experience of visiting a forested area looking much the same as it may have appeared a century and half ago,” the news release said.

However, Seifert said the same news release supports sensible management of the back country.

“Timber harvesting in the back country area will be restricted to single-tree selection of mature, damaged or diseased trees on site having slopes less than 45 degrees,” the release said.

Luurtsema said the back country area is important because it provides an ecosystem that many wildlife species rely upon, such as the federally endangered Indiana and gray bats and state-endangered hooded, cerulean and worm-eating warblers.

But Seifert said the DNR has surveyed the area and found there are no species that require that specific area of the forest to live. The endangered species live in old-growth forests, which the back county has, but can live in other habitats.

Luurtsema said the area provides a great recreational experience, where hikers actually feel like they’re in the forest when they hike.

“The state parks are so developed and heavily populated,” he said. The back county “provides a unique experience that you can’t find anywhere else in the state of Indiana.”

Luurtsema also stressed that the DNR plans to harvest a lot of trees. He said the current DNR plan calls for harvesting, as he sees it, in “every corner of the forests” every 15 to 20 years. Since 2002, logging in Indiana’s state forests has increased by 1,000 percent, from 1.4 million board-feet in 2002 to more than 14 million board-feet in both 2011 and 2012.

Seifert said the assertion that tree harvesting happens in every corner every 15 to 20 years is only “partially accurate.” He said 3,000 acres are set aside as nature preserves in Morgan-Monroe and Yellowwood state forests, and that there are thousands of acres designated for recreation as well. Morgan-Monroe and Yellowwood state forests are each 25,000 acres.

Seifert said, as an example, the DNR would harvest only between 10 and 15 trees out of 80 on the site.

“It always grows back if you take care of it,” Seifert said.

He also said the Division of Forestry is trustworthy because they’ve been doing timber management for 100 years and have had 1,400 timber sales in 45 years.

Luurtsema said he's asked the member base of the Indiana Forest Alliance to make phone calls to Gov. Mike Pence's office to try to stop the sale. He said he's hoping for a "flood of phone calls," asking Pence to protect the back country area.

“Ultimately, it comes down to Mike Pence,” Luurtsema said. “It’s his administration. He’s continuing the policies of Mitch Daniels, but he’s the one who has the authority to change the direction of the management of our state forests.”

-- Tim Grimes, via HSPA InfoNet

Obituaries
See Full List »

Jerry Depew Sr., 67, Nashville
  Husband of Phyllis Depew of Nashville

Millard Thompson, 90, Brown County
  Husband of Linda Lou (Scott) Thompson of Nineveh

Janice Mae (Rockwood) Burrier, 68, Brown County
  Member of St. Agnes Catholic Church in Nashville

  • August 1
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • August 1
    Live music at Out of the Ordinary
    7 p.m. Out of the Ordinary, 61 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 1
    Bean Blossom farmers market Friday
    4 to 7 p.m. St. David's Episcopal Church, State roads 135 North and 45, Bean Blossom
  • August 1
    Friday at BCSP
    10 a.m., 1 p.m. Brown County State Park, 1810 State Road 46 East
  • August 1
    Live music at winery
    7 to 10 p.m. Chateau Thomas Winery, Coachlight Square, 225 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 2
    Live jazz at Out of the Ordinary
    7 p.m. Out of the Ordinary, 61 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 2
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • August 2
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Abe Martin Lodge, Brown County State Park
  • August 2
    Live blues at winery
    7 to 10 p.m. Chateau Thomas Winery, Coachlight Square, 225 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 5
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • August 5
    Van Buren Advisory Board and Fire Board
    6:30 p.m. Van Buren Fire Station, 6801 S. Hamilton Creek Road
  • August 5
    CRC offers orientation for diploma class
    1 p.m. CRC, 246 E. Main St., Nashville
  • August 5
    Chamber of Commerce
    8 a.m. Willow Manor, 72 Willow St.
  • August 5
    Nashville Redevelopment Commission CANCELED
    Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • August 5
    CSCD Building Commission
    7 p.m. CSLOA Clubhouse, 8751 Nineveh Road
  • August 5
    Tuesday at BCSP Nature Center
    10 a.m., 2 p.m. Brown County State Park, 1810 State Road 46 East
  • August 6
    Brown County Commissioners
    6 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • August 6
    Jeff Foster at Hobnob restaurant
    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • August 6
    Local Emergency Planning Committee
    9 a.m. Ambulance Base, 53 State Road 46 East
  • August 6
    BC SWCD
    6:30 p.m. SWCD Office, 802 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • August 6
    Concerned Citizens of Brown County
    6:30 p.m. Brown County Public Library
  • August 7
    Go Club at the library Thursdays
    3:30 to 5 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • August 7
    Gospel jam session
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Music Church, 5181 State Road 46 East, Gnaw Bone5181 State Road 46 East, Gnaw Bone
  • August 7
    WRAPS meetings
    7 to 9 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • August 7
    Rotary Club
    7:15 a.m. Artist Colony Inn, 105 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 7
    Nashville Town Council
    6:30 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • August 7
    CSCD Ecology Commission
    7 p.m. CSLOA Clubhouse, 8751 Nineveh Road
  • August 7
    Thursday at BCSP Nature Center
    10 a.m., 2 p.m., 8 p.m. Brown County State Park, 1810 State Road 46 East
  • August 8
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • August 8
    Live music at Out of the Ordinary
    7 p.m. Out of the Ordinary, 61 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 8
    Bean Blossom farmers market Friday
    4 to 7 p.m. St. David's Episcopal Church, State roads 135 North and 45, Bean Blossom
  • August 8
    Live music at winery
    7 to 10 p.m. Chateau Thomas Winery, Coachlight Square, 225 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 9
    'Gangway to Galilee' Bible Camp in Bean Blossom
    8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, 5802 N. Old Settlers Road at 135 North
  • August 9
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • August 9
    Widowed group activities
    2:30 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • August 9
    Free community breakfast at Sprunica church
    8 to 10 a.m. Sprunica Baptist Church, 3902 Sprunica Road
  • August 9
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Abe Martin Lodge, Brown County State Park
  • August 9
    Late night dancing at Out of the Ordinary
    9:30 p.m. Out of the Ordinary, 61 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 9
    Second Saturday Village Art Walk
    5 to 8 p.m. Downtown Nashville
  • August 9
    Artists reception at art guild
    5 to 8 p.m. B.C. Art Guild, 48 Van Buren St.
  • August 9
    Live band at winery
    7 to 10 p.m. Chateau Thomas Winery, Coachlight Square, 225 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 11
    Beekeepers club
    7 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • August 11
    BC Animal Control Board
    7 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • August 12
    CSCD Roads, Security commissions
    6 p.m., 7:30 p.m. CSCD Office, 8377 Cordry Drive/ CSLOA Clubhouse, 8751 Nineveh Road
  • August 12
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • August 12
    Widowed group euchre parties
    1 to 4 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • August 12
    Nashville Parking & Public Facilities
    6 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • August 12
    B.C. 4-H Fair Board
    7 p.m. 802 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • August 13
    Jeff Foster at Hobnob restaurant
    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • August 13
    Concerned Citizens of Brown County
    6:30 p.m. Brown County Public Library
  • August 14
    Gospel jam session
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Music Church, 5181 State Road 46 East, Gnaw Bone
  • August 14
    Go Club at the library
    3:30 to 5 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • August 15
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • August 15
    Bean Blossom farmers market Friday
    4 to 7 p.m. St. David's Episcopal Church, State roads 135 North and 45, Bean Blossom
  • August 15
    Live band at winery
    7 to 10 p.m. Chateau Thomas Winery, Coachlight Square, 225 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 16
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • August 16
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Abe Martin Lodge, Brown County State Park
  • August 16
    Live music at winery
    7 to 10 p.m. Chateau Thomas Winery, Coachlight Square, 225 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 17
    Church hosts 50-year anniversary for Catholic sister
    noon to 3 p.m. St. Agnes Catholic Church, 1008 McLary Road
  • August 18
    Public library executive session
    5:30 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • August 19
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • August 21
    Gospel jam session
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Music Church, 5181 State Road 46 East, Gnaw Bone
  • August 21
    WRAPS meetings
    7 to 9 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • August 22
    Live music at Out of the Ordinary
    7 p.m. Out of the Ordinary, 61 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 22
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • August 22
    Bean Blossom farmers market Friday
    4 to 7 p.m. St. David's Episcopal Church, State roads 135 North and 45, Bean Blossom
  • August 22
    Dave Miller at winery
    7 to 10 p.m. Chateau Thomas Winery, Coachlight Square, 225 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 23
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • August 23
    Late night dancing at Out of the Ordinary
    9:30 p.m. Out of the Ordinary, 61 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 23
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Abe Martin Lodge, Brown County State Park
  • August 23
    Live music at winery
    7 to 10 p.m. Chateau Thomas Winery, Coachlight Square, 225 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 26
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • August 26
    Widowed group euchre party
    1 to 4 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • August 29
    Live music at winery
    7 to 10 p.m. Chateau Thomas Winery, Coachlight Square, 225 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 30
    Wagler Dairy hosts fifth annual ice cream social
    4:30 to 8 p.m. Wagler Dairy, 7085 Homestead Road
  • August 30
    Live music at winery
    7 to 10 p.m. Chateau Thomas Winery, Coachlight Square, 225 S. Van Buren St.
  • September 13
    Second Saturday Village Art Walk
    5 to 8 p.m. Downtown Nashville
  • September 13
    Free community breakfast at Sprunica church
    8 to 10 a.m. Sprunica Baptist Church, 3902 Sprunica Road