Salamonie State Forest to be logged

By Josh Sigler

Salamonie State forest will soon have fewer trees among its landscape.

There’s still some marking to do, but the DNR will soon let bids for a logging project at the state forest.

“We (still) have to pull together all the information, advertise it and do the actual closed bid sale,” Salamonie property manager Amanda Smith said. “Then, (the contractor) will have a two-year contract.
“We’ve been marking the sale for three years now.”

Smith said the logging is what’s known as an “improvement harvest.” It’s done to improve the spacing of trees, to take out some of the dead, dying, poor-quality, or damaged trees, and improve wildlife habitat.”

It depends on the property size in terms of how often a state forest is logged, but Smith said the last such timber harvest at Salamonie was done in 2009.

Where the lumber ends up depends on which logger or sawmill ends up winning the bid. It can go anywhere from local sawmills to all over the world.

This harvest is single-tree bidding and group selection, and under those circumstances, Salamonie will not be replanting new trees to replace the removed ones.

“There’s enough of a native seed bed back in the soil now that our native hardwoods will be coming up,” Smith said. “A lot of what we take out is ‘OK, there’s three trees scrunched together closely’ and we take out one to improve the spacing of the other two.”

The Indiana Forest Association in August voiced concerns over the nature of logging that will take place, saying that it may do more harm than good.

“Removing a lot of pine and adjoining hardwoods all at once will change the character of the forest to make it much sunnier, inviting in a lot of invasives and creating a virtual thicket that will be hard for hikers, horseback riders, and hunters to walk through,” IFA said in a press release.

The IFA said its primary focus is the management of state forests because, while they make up only three percent of Indiana’s forests, they still provide some of the largest blocks of intact forest in the state, and are the only state-owned public lands managed by the Department of Natural Resources, where wilderness recreation, including primitive camping, backpacking, long distance hiking, orienteering and foraging is possible.

“We must speak out because the DNR has increased the amount of logging in these forests by 400 percent over the last 13 years – three to four times more logging than was ever done in these forests for the 102 years they existed prior to 2005,” the IFA said. “At the current authorized rate of 14 million board feet being logged per year, the DNR will have logged through all tracts of the state forests within another 12 to 13 years.”

Friends of Salamonie Forest will have a meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 17, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Huntington City-Township Library, located at 255 W. Park Drive in Huntington.

Posted on 2018 Oct 09