Hoosiers interested in how Indiana's state forests are run can share their views at a series of open houses starting next month.
Seven open houses between March and September will cover nine state forests and two state recreation areas.
At each event, the Department of Natural Resource's forestry division will provide information about recreational activities, budget, staffing, major projects, the state's forestry strategic plan, invasive species and forest resource management. Attendees can talk directly with DNR personnel or, if they prefer, submit written comments. Some of the open houses will include a tour of facilities or woods walk.
"These open houses provide Hoosiers with a chance to receive first-hand information about how the state forests provide diverse wildlife habitat, forest products and recreational opportunities," State Forester John Seifert said. "They also allow us to receive valuable feedback from our neighbors."
Those who cannot attend an open house can review state forest management guides and comment online. All tract management guides are posted at dnr.IN.gov/forestry/3635.htm. Click on the link to "Indiana State Forests," then "Public Comment."
Open houses are (all times are Eastern):
- Greene-Sullivan State Forest, Saturday, March 3, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., in conjunction with Marsh Madness, at the Linton City Park's East Cabin, (812) 648-2810.
- Martin State Forest, Saturday, March 10, 8-11:30 a.m., at the Martin County Ag Day at the Martin County Community Building at the fairgrounds, (812) 247-3491.
- Clark State Forest and Deam Lake State Recreation Area, Monday, April 16, 3:30-7 p.m., at the Clark State Forest office, one mile north of Henryville on Indiana 31, (812) 294-4306. Staff from Deam Lake SRA will also be present.
- Yellowwood and Morgan-Monroe state forests, Saturday, March 17, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., at the Yellowwood State Forest office, seven miles southwest of Nashville off Indiana 46, (812) 988-7945.
- Owen-Putnam State Forest, Saturday, April 21, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., at the property office, five miles west of Spencer and three-quarters of a mile north of Indiana 46 at 2153 Fish Creek Road, (812) 829-2462. The open house will feature a tree identification hike at 1:15 p.m. and a free tree seedling to visitors while supplies last.
- Jackson-Washington State Forest, Thursday, May 17, 4-7 p.m., at Starve Hollow State Recreation Area's nature center, (812) 358-2160. Staff from Starve Hollow SRA will also be present. At 5 p.m. attendees can join a woodland tour of a recent timber harvest area.
- Ferdinand and Pike state forests, Thursday, Sept. 27, 3-7 p.m., at the Ferdinand State Forest property office, on Indiana 264, approximately four miles northeast of Ferdinand, (812) 367-1524. Visitors will tour the renovations now ongoing in and around the Ferdinand State Forest headquarters.
An open house will be conducted at Harrison-Crawford State Forest in September on a date yet to be determined. Property staffs are also available during normal business hours. The DNR website includes contact information and details on how to schedule a visit.