Act now to help manage state forests

The annual series of regional “stakeholder” meetings to consider plans to manage Ohio’s 21 state forests, almost 200,000 acres worth of your trees, begins Monday, Aug. 21.

Take note, because the Division of Forestry of the Ohio DNR has given its so-called stakeholders – in reality, the entire tax-paying Ohio public – less than a week’s notice of the open houses. Note that the ODNR did not file an email news release on this until 4:47 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 15, almost the close of business for the day, just six days before the first scheduled open house.

The only saving grace, if you would call it that, is that there also is a 30-day comment period in which you can file your views on forest management schemes. That is, if you cannot make an open house in your area for a forest in your area on such short notice and want to take the time to look up the respective work plans online at forestry.ohiodnr.gov.

The ODNR says that forest managers and foresters develop annual work plans to guide management activities for each state forest. These open houses provide an opportunity for the public to better understand and comment on Ohio’s plans for sustainable forestry, which includes recreation; treating invasive species; prescribed burning; and timber cruising and harvesting.

Here are the open house details:

  • Monday, Aug. 21, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., for Mohican-Memorial State Forest, at Mohican Lodge and Conference Center, 1098 Ashland County Road 3006, Perrysville, Ohio 44864. Call 419-429-8312.
  • Tuesday, Aug. 22, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. for Forestry District 5 (Scioto Trail, Richland Furnace, Tar Hollow, Pike, Dean, Brush Creek and Shawnee state forests, at Chillicothe District Office, 345 Allen Ave., Chillicothe, Ohio 45601-1699. Call 740-774-1596, ext. 101.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 23, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., for Forestry District 4 (Sunfish Creek, Perry, Blue Rock, Hocking, Shade River, Gifford, Vinton Furnace and Zaleski state forests), at Hocking Cabin, across from the Hocking State Forest Office, 19275 St. Rt. 374, Rockbridge, Ohio 43149. Call 740-272-8519.
  • Thursday, Aug. 24, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., for Forestry District 3 (Yellow Creek, Fernwood, Harrison and Beaver Creek state forests), at Fernwood State Forest Office, 11 Township Road 181, Bloomingdale, Ohio 43910. Call 440-564-5883, ext. 2.
  • Tuesday, Aug. 29, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., for Maumee State Forest, at Maumee State Forest Headquarters,  3390 County Road D, Swanton, Ohio 43558. Call 419-429-8312.

The ODNR says that the “Division of Forestry works to promote and apply management for the sustainable use and protection of Ohio’s private and public forest lands. State forests are managed for multiple uses, including wildlife, habitats for threatened and endangered species, recreation opportunities, timber products, demonstration for private forest owners and soil and water protection.”

In other words, forests are seen strictly for their utility – so many potential board-feet of cut timber, a people playground, how to show private owners how to cut trees, and maybe show them how not to erode the land to death. Nary a word in its mission about conserving large undisturbed tracts of old-growth forest or educating the public about its value, including for threatened and endangered species.

If that matters to you, and for many reasons it should, you might consider asking a forester about that in the next week or two.

Categories: Ohio – Steve Pollick

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