To the Editor:

Thank you for publishing information about the Forest Action Plan of the Division of Forestry (January 7, 2020. Page 7).

As someone very interested in forestry, I encourage everyone to take the public survey either online or on a requested printed copy, toll free 877-247-8733.
One reason is that all Ohio residents are owners of state land forests and should take ownership responsibility and participate.

A second reason is that forests are important. Ohio forests, like all forests around the world, are part of the natural biosphere of planet Earth that supports all life, including human life.

Although I encourage public participation, I am highly critical of this whole process. In my opinion, the survey is absolutely meaningless, as shown by how it is presented it surveys all responders and all forest types equally which makes no sense scientifically or statistically. The result will be a mishmash of no value.

The Division of Forestry has been working on the new Forest Action Plan for two years. If is already written. Public input at this stage is not likely to have any influence, cause any change.
The public survey and opportunity to comment may be meaningless, but we should all be good citizens and participate anyway. Play the games but then work to change the game rules for the future.

This is personal opinion and perception but I have 30 years experience with similar Ohio State planning with public input.

The Forest Action Plan is needed for a competitive state application to the US Department of Agriculture for grant money. Public input is probably required by the application process and the Division of Forestry is going through the motions to meet the requirements.

The Division of Forestry has regulatory jurisdiction over state forests it little like wildfire control and seasonal burning restrictions, for other forests. Why then are the few stakeholder meetings scheduled in major urban areas far from state forests? Public meetings should be at or near to every state forest to best involve those most aware of and interested in the state forests.

Adams County has two state forests, one state park, one state wildlife area, numerous state preserves. There is the large private Edge of Appalachia Preserve and several smaller private Arc of Appalachia Preserves. The former Mead company still owns forested land. The majority of the forested, wooded, or just urban free land in Adams County is private.

Each separate forest entity deserves a separate survey. Every survey responder will have a different forest in mind. That’s why I believe the survey to be meaningless.
I encourage taking the survey and especially writing individual comments just to show the Division of Forestry that Ohio citizens care about their forests, about all forests end.

Barbara Lund, Lynx


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