Letter: Letter to editor Reverend Michael Bean


To the editor:

The forest feeds us….

I am writing to all friends of our public forest today. The tall and majestic old trees need our help. The rolling forest hills, babbling streams and beautiful sacred places we love to explore cry out for salvation from chainsaws, bull dozers and logging trucks. Our beloved woods and wildflowers, furry creatures and stately turtles, endangered bats and birds on the wing all need to be protected and preserved from repeated burning and logging.

I am writing to expose the highly controversial United States Forest Service (USFS) plan to begin logging in the Brownstown Ranger District of the Hoosier National Forest (HNF). Right down the road, a little southeast of Monroe Lake and the Deam Wilderness.

The Houston South Vegetation Management and Restoration Project (HSVMRP) proposes to log 4,375 acres, repeatedly burn 13,500 acres, build 16.4 miles of logging roads, and apply herbicides on 1,970 acres all concentrated on ridges, steep slopes, and valleys in the HNF that drain into Monroe Reservoir.

Logging in this part of the HNF will increase sediment runoff into the South Fork of Salt Creek and threaten the water quality of Monroe Reservoir, the drinking water supply for 140,000 people. The USFS has refused to consider alternative locations to their plan.

The Houston South project will cause repeated closures and reroutes of the Knobstone Trail, the Fork Ridge and other hiking trails. Proposed logging and burning will also cause closure and reroutes of many popular horseback riding trails in the Houston South area. Wilderness outdoor recreation will suffer and outdoor recreation revenue will be lost.

This proposed project will kill or harm several species of federal or state listed bats and multiple other birds, mammals, and reptiles that are classified as “species of special concern” in Indiana. The list includes, but not limited to: Northern Long Ear Bat, Indiana Bat, Eastern Box Turtle, Timber Rattlesnake, and Cerulean Warbler. Logging and prescribed fire will burn and kill these animals as well as threaten, damage, and destroy their vital habitat.

Please contact the HNF Supervisor and demand the forest service to consider alternative actions. Call (812) 275-5987. Email www.fs.fed.us/r9/hoosier. Our public forest needs our help! Call your friends, the Governor, your Senator and Representative. We need the forest and the trees. They scrub carbon, produce oxygen and clean the water. Save the Forest. Restore the Earth. Protect our wildlife. Heal ourselves. Thank you, God bless you, and have a grateful day!

Reverend Michael E. Bean


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