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Indiana Forest Alliance displeased with state selling Salamonie Trees

Published: Dec. 12, 2021 at 6:46 PM EST
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - The non-profit Indiana Forest Alliance is frustrated with the Indiana Department of Natural resources auctioning off trees from the Salamonie River State Forest.

The state claims the timber sale supports forest management but IFA’s Outreach Coordinator Emma Steele says they’re worried about the impacts on the environment.

She says cutting down the trees affects the animals but the old growth forest where the IFA says she says there is not much left especially in the northern part of the state. To get those trees back in Salamonie, it wouldn’t happen until at least the next century.

“Especially considering the really devestating impact that a timber harvest of this magnitude will have on the species that rely on this near old growth historical section of Salamoni,” Steele said.

The IFA says the sale was made on November 30th where the DNR sold 984 trees which accounts for over 162-thousand board feet of timber, 394 of that is veneer white oak. The price tag is just $10,000 which equates to a very low six cents per board foot when the average low price just last year was 30 cents per board foot.

“This is not low-quality timber that comes out of the historical forest. These are 100-year-old trees easily. It is a beautiful, beautiful forest and it’s just tragic.”

Steele added,

“With this project, you’re looking at the DNR selecting the species they want which of those species they don’t want and that inevitably does have an impact on how this ecosystem functions.”

Just a couple of weeks ago, the IFA held a protest hoping to stop the DNR from selling those trees. Steele says it’s important people know about the impacts.

“There was a petitioning back in 2018 up here in Northeast Indiana asking the DNR to convert Salamoni into a state park and state parks can’t be commercially logged as state forests can so if this petitioning effort been accepted by the DNR, this logging wouldn’t be happening,” Steele said.

“You can’t go back 10 years and take it back. It’s done once it is done.”

Salamonie is one of only two state forests north of Indianapolis. The state claims that many of the trees marked for sale are deceased or dying, but the IFA doesn’t think it will improve forest health.

ABC21 reached out to the DNR for comment but their offices were closed.

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