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Yellowwood State Forest timber sale met with protests

Demonstrators say this is just the beginning of the fight.

BROWN COUNTY, Ind. (WTHR) - Protestors tried to stop a bid to take down about 2,000 trees in Yellowwood State Forest in Brown County. Despite their efforts, the timber has officially been sold.

Protestors say this is just the beginning of the fight.

People were coming out of the woodwork on Thursday morning to protest the Yellowwood timber sale. They wanted to save the trees, some more than 200 years old.

“They’re the only areas in the state where wilderness recreation is possible,” said Jeff Stant, who is the executive director of the Indiana Forest Alliance. “You can teach your son or daughter how to orienteer across the forest from one knob to the next.”

The state announced plans to take bids to cut the trees down. Then on Thursday morning, the highest bidder was picked. It was Hamilton, for $108,785. The timber was estimated to be worth $150,000.

“It's sad that they have sold those trees,” said Stant. “$68 a tree, at 260 board feet per tree, do the math. They're at a fraction of what the market would offer for these trees on private land.”

“This sold for pennies a board foot,” said Dan Antes, who lives and works in Brown County at a hardwood flooring shop. “Someone is going to make a lot of money selling these logs.”

One of Antes’ friends offered to bid $150,000 to save the forest. It was higher than any of the other bids, but that bid wasn't considered.

“Bobby Bartlett, the individual that made the offer to preserve this stand, has been in the industry since he was a child for the most part,” said Antes. “He's seen the devastation to the forest, he's seen logging practices that make it so that it's not sustainable, the forest doesn't recover.”

Even though they didn't change the decision on Thursday, the protestors plan to keep the conversation going and say they're already making a big statement.

“People really care about our public forests and our state forests,” said Stant.

The DNR decided to take those trees down because they were damaged by fire and bugs. Even though they'll be taking down about 2,000 trees, they’re spread out around the forest, so it comes down to about six per acre.