Chesterton Tribune



DNR revises southern Indiana Forest plan based on 'considerable public input'

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The Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry has released its revised Strategic Plan for 2015-19.

“Considerable public input” helped shape revisions to the initial plan, released last year, DNR said.

“We expanded the public input process to include open houses, public meetings, and opportunities to comment on the plan,” Director of DNR Forestry John Seifert said. “We addressed each and every comment received from the public to the extent possible. Those comments covered a wide range of topics, from timber harvesting and wildlife habitat to recreation, ecosystem protection, funding, private lands assistance, and organizational efficiency.”

The revised plan and a public comment summary--“Strategic Plan Public Input Process”--are available for review at

Some of the changes in the revised plan:

* Providing assistance to other DNR Divisions with forest management and forest health issues.

* “A continued commitment” to providing a balance in forest age structure, especially young forest conditions.

* Increased emphasis on wildlife habitat management of state forests.

* Sustained emphasis on land acquisition, including acquiring additional state forest acreage.

* Increased emphasis on development and management of recreational areas.

* Designation and management of two new high conservation value forests, one at Clark State Forest and another at Ferdinand State Forest.

* Providing additional primitive cross-country/backpack trail hiking opportunities in six to seven state forests.

* Increased emphasis on the control of exotic invasive species.

* System-wide initiative to improve trails.

* Selectively opening State Forest caves based on the needs of threatened and endangered cave species.

* Improvement of hunter access to areas in need of better deer population management.

As part of DNR Forestry’s planning process, comments were received on proposed state forest recreation fees and private lands management fees. The Division will continue to accept comments and recommendations on the proposed fees through November. Comments can be submitted through the questions/comments link at

The plan also addresses DNR Forestry’s private forest land-assistance programs and the strategic direction for tree nursery operation and hardwood economic development. For more information on these portions of the plan, see



Posted 2/11/2016




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