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Senator Urging Those With Land In Forest Program To Respond
Updated October 29, 2015 8:09 AM
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(UNDATED) - Public comments on the DNR Division of Forestry strategic plan for 2015-19 are being accepted online through October 31.

A comment form is available at www.in.gov/dnr/forestry/2856.htm.

The strategic plan is available under the Annual Reports & Forest Strategic Plans at www.in.gov/dnr/forestry/3605.htm.

"This is an urgent message to all citizens who have their forests in the classified forest program," Senator Brent Steele wrote in an email. "The Department of Natural Resources is proposing a $2 per acre per year tax on top of what you already pay on your classified forest.
They don't call it a tax, they call it a fee."

DNR Forestry has broad responsibilities that include managing approximately 158,000 acres in 15 state forests and state recreation areas; managing more than 700,000 acres of private woodlands in the Classified Forest and Wildlands program; growing and selling 3 million seedlings per year; and administering a statewide urban forestry program.

State forests are managed for multiple uses and benefits - camping, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, hunting, mushroom hunting, picnicking, and more. Other benefits include certified timber production; conservation of air, soil and water resources; wildlife habitat; and protection of cultural resources.

One way the proposed strategic plan differs from previous ones is an emphasis on increasing and improving recreation opportunities on state forests. The plan seeks to support these activities with user fees, something DNR Forestry has done for years on three properties but now intends to apply across the entire state forest system.

Also new to this plan is support for private lands woodland management with fees paid by people who use the services of district foresters. The services and fees are undecided at this time, and the Division is looking for public input and direction on how to carry out this program.



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