A group of activists is asking Governor Eric Holcomb to stop future logging in the back country area of Yellowwood State Forest after the Division of Forestry auctioned off timber from that area Thursday morning.
Echoes of chanting bounced off the trees as protesters held signs reading “a forest is community not a commodity” and “save our trees.”
Protesters hoped to discourage the auctioning of about 1,700 trees, including some from an old-growth area of the forest.
David Seastrom was among the protesters. He hoped Governor Eric Holcomb would stop the sale, which he says is about power.
“It feels vindictive. It feels like the DNR has targeted this area specifically to flex their muscles and to demonstrate that they are the ones in charge,” Seastrom says.
The timber sold for about $108,000 to a buyer identified as Hamilton. A person looking to preserve the trees bid $150,000 but was turned down because they didn’t have a timber license.
Executive director of the Indiana Forest Alliance Jeff Stant says the organization isn’t against logging on private land, but takes issue when trees are removed from the back country area of state forests.
“The amount of forest in the state forest that are this old is so small and so precious,” Stant says. “It’s such an important part of our natural heritage to have forests that go back to the time before we were here that represent our pre-settlement past.”
Stant says their fight to preserve the trees is not over and they will continue to bring it to the attention of lawmakers
The DNR declined an interview, but says logging is a way to keep the forest healthy by maintaining a balance of old growth and young growth forest.