Matt Pierce took a hike through Yellowwood State Forest’s backwoods Thursday afternoon to get a close-up look at the results of a controversial timber cut this year that removed 1,733 trees the state forestry division sold to loggers for $110,000.
Pierce, a Democratic state representative from Bloomington, proposed legislation in 2014 that would have protected the forests, keeping a portion of the state-owned lands in Yellowwood, Morgan-Monroe, Jackson-Washington and Clark state forests free from motorized access, commercial activity and logging.
The areas were set aside three decades ago by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources in order to maintain wilderness areas in a way similar to how they would have been a century ago, disturbing the forests as little as possible. But in 2013, plans surfaced to cut down trees there.
Pierce’s bill got 40 percent of the votes, not enough to pass. But on Thursday, after a walk deep into the area post-logging, Pierce vowed to reintroduce the legislation.
He had been invited by Brown County resident Dave Seastrom to view the forest, now that the logging is finished. Most of the logs have been hauled away, although muddy conditions mean some remain. Brush is piled everywhere.