February 5th, 2014
Dear Friends and Supporters,

forest_alliance_logoThe Indiana General Assembly is approaching the midpoint of the 2014 legislative session.  As you know, the Indiana Forest Alliance (IFA) has been hard at work in the Legislature trying to garner support for protecting Indiana’s public forests.  State Representative Matt Pierce (D-Bloomington) introduced HB 1179, a bill that would protect the three state forest Back Country Areas from commercial logging and roadbuilding.  On the other side of the rotunda, State Senator Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington) introduced SB 398, the Bicentennial Wilderness Act.  This bill would create a state wilderness preservation system and charge the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) with the creation and management of state wilderness areas on state-owned land, and allow for public input in the process.  Many of you have done your part by calling or writing your state legislators and asking them to support these bills.  THANK YOU.

Despite our best efforts, however, neither of these bills received a committee hearing.  This means that the bills will not reach the floor of their respective houses to be voted on this session.

But there is good news to report!  Thanks to all your hard work, State Representative Eric Koch (R-Bedford) has introduced House Resolution 16 (HR16), which acknowledges the numerous benefits of protecting wilderness areas and the need for the state “to ensure that there are wilderness areas for future generations to enjoy.”  HR16 also urges the Legislative Council of the Legislature to assign the appropriate committee to “study the need for, costs, benefits, and impacts of a wilderness preservation system on state public lands.”  State Representative Peggy Mayfield (R-Martinsville) has agreed to co-sponsor this resolution.  Its passage will provide a strong statement that the Legislature wants its Natural Resources Study Committee to study the wilderness preservation issue despite possible opposition from the IDNR, whose representatives told IFA last week that IDNR was opposed to even studying this issue.  Therefore, it is crucial that we encourage our state representatives to sign on to HR16 to overcome such an extreme position from the IDNR.  We also need to encourage our state senators to offer an identical resolution in the Senate.

Please call, email or write your state legislators and to express your support for HR16.  Ask your representatives to sign on to HR16 and your senators to sponsor this study resolution in the Senate.  You can find your legislators here.

You can also write or call them at:

Indiana House of Representatives
200 W. Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204-2786
(317) 232-9600
(800) 382-9842

Indiana State Senate
200 W. Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204-2785
(317) 232-9400
(800) 382-9467

Another way to show your support for public forests is to bring up the issue at a Third House session in your area.  Third House sessions are public events that provide the opportunity for constituents to meet their state legislators in their home districts.  For a listing of Third House events in your area, check your local newspaper, or visit this link.

For our forests,

Myke Luurtsema
Hoosier Forest Watch Coordinator
Indiana Forest Alliance

Jeff Stant
Executive Director
Indiana Forest Alliance
phone: (H) 317-359-1306; (O) 317-602-3692; (C) 317-489-7112

Donate to the IFA through Paypal!

Indiana Forest Alliance – www.IndianaForestAlliance.org
112 N. Walnut St., Ste. 600, Bloomington, IN, 47404

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