Thursday, March 27, 2008
Save our forest from tree cutters
Less than an hour's drive south of Indianapolis is a rare and wonderful recreational treasure that is now under threat.
Located in Morgan-Monroe and Yellowwood state forests, the Back Country Area was established in the early 1980s in many people's minds as equivalent to a wilderness area in a national forest, such as the Charles Deam Wilderness Area in the Hoosier National Forest. The original documentation states that the Back Country Area is "to be enjoyed by the wilderness seeker as a place of solitude and repose" and that "it will offer an experience of visiting a forested area looking much the same as it may have appeared a century and a half ago."
For nearly three decades the Back Country Area has been off limits to commercial logging and has been a favorite place for hikers and backpackers. I have enjoyed many backpacking adventures in this area with my son, having chosen it because of its proximity and its exceptional beauty, and because I assumed it would be one of the few places in Indiana where my son could watch the trees grow bigger without the threat of them being logged. All of that, however, is about to change: The Indiana Department of Natural Resources plans to sell trees to commercial contractors and send in heavy equipment to cut them down and haul them off.