This guest column was written by James M. Ridenour, former director of the National Park Service, former director of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and professor emeritus for the IU School of Public Health.
I understand that there is some controversy over increased timbering in our state forests. As former director of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and the National Park Service, I have had more than a few years of experience in dealing with the concepts of preservation and multiple use.
There are times when the preservation of our timber resources makes sense, just as there times when timbering makes sense.
Our state forests are not a major source of timber for hardwood production in Indiana. Only about 5 percent to 7 percent of the timber harvest in Indiana comes from state forest lands. Revenue to the state from those timber sales is only about $3 million per year. Far and away, the majority our forest harvest comes from private lands.
While it makes sense to have timber sales on some of our state lands, it also makes sense to save some of this land for hikers, bikers, campers and other recreational users.
We need to save prime acres of our forest lands for multiple use and also, to tell the story of what Indiana pioneers found when they came to our state.
On the lands to be timbered, let’s use the least intrusive of the timbering processes.
We don’t need large clear-cut areas and we don’t need miles and miles of haul roads. Single-tree selection is a concept that can work in many instances.
In the great forests of the West, we have saved the very best of the Sequoias and the redwoods. Let’s save the best of Indiana’s woodlands.
The original story can be found here.