April 3, 2023 @ 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Orange County Community Center
1075 Sandy Hook Rd Ste 2
IN 47454

From Press Release: In an unprecedented recent development, Senator Mike Braun has arranged for Dr. Homer Wilkes, Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment at the United States Department of Agriculture, to meet for a public meeting in Paoli, Indiana, April 3rd, 2023 from 1:00-2:30 pm at the Orange County Community Center regarding the Buffalo Springs Project proposal and the development of a new Land and Resource Management plan for the Hoosier National Forest (HNF).

Undersecretary Wilkes is in charge of the entire United State Forest Service. Attached at the end is the letter submitted from Senator Braun to Undersecretary Wilkes regarding this meeting. This is the second time in less than a year that the Undersecretary has come to Orange County to meet citizens regarding this 20,500-30,000 acre Buffalo Springs project for timbering, road building, burning and herbicide treatments. Currently the Hoosier National Forest is managed under the 2006 Land and Resource Management plan. This plan is out of date and is required to be updated after 16 years. Everyone agrees that the HNF is unique and in need of critical concern for its future. Everyone has a say! The Undersecretary has set the time for the meeting. Currently, as part of a citizens’ coalition concerned with the future of our public forests, Indiana Forest Alliance is negotiating for a meeting time that will allow for the most people to attend that is not during the common work day. We feel that the current time would be less effective in achieving the main objective of increasing the public’s voice to be heard so we are trying to get a second meeting time in the evening as well.

Please plan on attending to get your voice heard about the future of OUR Hoosier National Forest! Bring with you your copy of comments to hand to Senator Braun and Undersecretary Wilkes regarding the need for a new Land and Resource Management plan for the HNF and the Buffalo Springs proposal. Also, we are encouraging everyone to submit their comments on the need for a new forest plan and an alternative for the Buffalo Springs proposal to Gina Owens, United State Forest Service Regional Forester for the Eastern Region, of which the HNF is part. Her email address is Gina.Owens@usda.gov.

The public meeting will also be available via teleconference for those that can’t attend in person (The link will be available in the coming days) NOTE: For further information on this event you may also contact: Jeff Stant, Executive Director, Indiana Forest Alliance 317-489-7112 / 317-602-3692 jeff@indianaforestalliance.org