Improvements to water quality, wildlife habitat, and trails in Hoosier National Forest

BEDFORD – Over the past several months the Hoosier National Forest has received over 25 responses from interested individuals and organizations regarding a request for information about an area of the Forest located between Paoli and English in Orange and Crawford counties. 

Referred to as the Buffalo Springs Area of Interest, the Forest looked to identify sites that could be managed to bring them closer to the desired conditions (objectives) established in the 2006 Forest Plan. 

It is an area of the Hoosier National Forest that has received minimal active forest management, in terms of ecosystem restoration, and has significantly departed from the desired conditions identified in the Forest Plan. 

Nearly 77 percent of hardwood stands in the Buffalo Springs area currently average 60 years of age or older.  Only 3.7 percent are less than 30 years of age, with only 0.1% less than 10 years of age.  One of the desired conditions for this area is to have 4-12 percent of hardwoods as young forest.

Therefore, it has potential for wildlife habitat improvements, aquatic habitat restoration, and other ecological restoration actions.  It also contains other opportunities for improvements such as water quality (it is in a municipal watershed), and trail improvements for sustainability.

This culvert prevents fish and other aquatic species from moving upstream and is causing erosion.
  It represents one of several sites the Forest Service hopes to address with the Buffalo Springs project proposal.

To meet the desired conditions and implement these improvements, the District Ranger has decided to go forward with a project proposal for the Buffalo Springs area and comply with the process required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  The NEPA process will include a public scoping period to help identify relevant issues, followed by rigorous environmental analysis and opportunity for the public to comment regarding that analysis.

The Forest encourages public participation in the decision-making process for actions that affect their public lands.  More information about the project proposal, a field tour, and public scoping period will be announced as it becomes available.  

For information about 2006 Forest Plan visit:

For more information about the Buffalo Springs area visit: