If you haven’t already, please write and submit your comments ASAP. The comment period ends October 31st!!
Here’s how to lend your voice to protecting our State Forests:
To ensure your comments are accepted, the Division of Forestry is requiring that comments are submitted through their Question/Comment web form at www.in.gov/dnr/forestry/2856.htm with “Strategic Plan” entered in the subject line.
Longer comments or comments with attachments can be email to Division of Forestry Director Jack Seifert at email@example.com or mailed to:
Mr. Jack Seifert
Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Division of Forestry
402 W. Washington, Room W-296
Indianapolis, IN 46204
You can read IFA’s concerns with the proposed Strategic Plan provided in testimony at the public meetings here.
The proposed Strategic Plan 2015 – 2019 can be accessed here.
Below is a sample letter but PLEASE let the Division of Forestry hear you concerns in your own words. Address this letter to everyone. Instead of only sending your letter to only the Division of Forestry, send this letter to Governor Pence, your State Representative and Senator, as well as to the editor of your local paper. You will save yourself the effort of writing multiple letters, and your voice will reach far and wide, beyond the Division of Forestry.
When you do write a letter, let us know! We are tracking the numbers of letters that are written to the Division of Forestry and legislators in the coming year so we can hold them accountable to the public’s opinion. You can email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear Director Seifert,
I am writing to express my frustrations over the recent Strategic Plan proposed by the Division of Forestry, for 2015-2019. As it is currently, the state forest management program has had severe impacts on public recreational activities, such as hiking, backpacking, hunting, bird watching, mountain biking, horseback riding, and backcountry camping. The DOF’s Strategic Plan would continue the excessive logging of the state forests at levels 10 times beyond the logging ten years ago, authorize more clearcutting, set aside no areas for the enjoyment of wilderness or primitive recreation, sell off “non-essential” tracts of state forests and establish user fees to build shooting ranges and expanded facilities. The changes revealed in this Plan to do not reflect the vision of state forests as multiple-use facilities, which would support primitive recreation not possible on any other state lands, biodiversity of natural forest habitat, and finally timber harvesting. Please revisit your Plan to provide a truly multiple use strategy rather than managing our state forests primarily for the timber industry.
In past years, the DOF has solicited Hoosier opinions in advance of setting forth its Plan; this has included a 30-day public-comment period, meetings with multiple stake holder groups and public hearings. These opportunities were neglected before the unveiling of the 2015-2019 Strategic Plan. It is imperative that the public opinion process be expanded by the Division of Forestry to provide more comment opportunities and clear instructions for public comment and in turn, appropriately respond to those comments and incorporate input into the Plan.
Please employ a balanced management of our state forests by reducing commercial logging throughout the entire state forest system to pre-2005 levels and setting aside Wild Areas where the public can enjoy natural forests without logging or roads. Redraft this Strategic Plan to include the comments and concerns of Hoosiers who own property next to the state forests or who recreate in the state forests, allowing a public comment period of a minimum of 6o days. Landowners have been told to trust the Division of Forestry with the practical application of silvicultural methods in the state forests; the Division of Forestry needs to recognize that the state forests belong to the people of Indiana and more genuinely consider public opinions on the management of this public resource which matters to the health and quality of life of Hoosiers.
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