- Associated Press - Monday, August 15, 2016

NASHVILLE, Ind. (AP) - A state forest in southern Indiana is closing off some trails temporarily because logging operations are underway.

Yellowwood State Forest property manager Jim Allen tells The (Bloomington) Herald-Times (https://bit.ly/2b99XHE) the trails will be closed six to eight weeks because of the logging. Allen is hopeful the trails may be open by the time the leaves begin to turn this fall.

He said the restrictions on trails are needed to ensure visitors to the forest are safe.

Allen said the trails where the logging is happening should not be affected by the operation.

“Once we open back up the trails, they will be as they were,” he said.

But Jason Flickner, conservation director of the Indiana Forest Alliance, a non-profit environmental group, said the trails won’t be as good a place to hike as before.

“It will still be a mess after that,” he said. “That’s the problem. The Indiana Forest Alliance stance has always been that the Department of Natural Resources should stay away from recreational trails. Once they go in there and log, even if they open it in time for fall colors, it’s going to be a muddy, sloppy mess.”

Yellowwood State Forest is in the heart of what the Indiana Forest Alliance hopes will become one of 13 areas across Indiana to be protected from logging.

Allen says a total of 140,000 board feet will be taken out of the woods west of Yellowwood Lake. More than half of that will be white ash and yellow poplar.

“We’ve had a lot of mortality lately,” he said.

The ash trees are suffering from an infestation of emerald ash borers, an Asian beetle that is killing ash trees across much of Indiana; the tulip poplar trees have been hit hard by tulip tree scale, which are insects that can kill the trees.

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Information from: The Herald Times, https://www.heraldtimesonline.com


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