Pictured above: East Fork of Honey Creek, Morgan-Monroe Yellowwood State Forests Backcountry Area

State Forests planning bill

Updated: March 25, 2019

Senator John Ruckelshaus’ (R-Indy) Senate Bill 610, a bill to establish a state forest commission along with a formal planning process for state forests was not given a hearing in the Senate Natural Resources Committee. Senators Bassler, Tomes and Stoops were co-authors of the bill.

Given the lack of committee action on SB 610, forest advocates including HEC worked with a bipartisan group of representatives to seek amendments to a DNR-related bill in the House that would:

  • Set aside 10% of state forest land as old forest areas free from commercial logging — holding DNR to its own commitment to do this.  (Rep. Carey Hamilton, D-Indy)
  • Establish an Indiana Forest Commission to make recommendations on the management of Indiana state forests, similar to the language of SB 610.  (Rep. Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington)

The two amendments were considered on the House floor on March 25th, but neither gained approval.  The 10% set aside amendment failed 42 to 52, with 12 Republicans and 30 Democrats voting yes.  The Forest Commission amendment did not fare as well, receiving only 31 votes in favor.

No further action on state forest policy legislation is expected this session.