By Frank Lewis
Bill Tipton, of Save our Shawnee Forest, says the annual open house for Shawnee State Forest and all southern Ohio forests will be held Thursday from 4:30-7 p.m. at 345 Allen Ave., in Chillicothe, and said it is the only public meeting where the public will be able to see the planned cutting in the forest.
According to a State Forest Management manual Land Management Report for Fiscal Year 2010 - “On October 25, 2007, Governor Ted Strickland issued a directive to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources: Division of Forestry is to begin the process of attaining third-party certification of sustainable management of our state forests.” It goes on to say the certification of sustainable management of state forests through the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the Forest Stewardship Council “will have great benefits to our division.”
Tipton said now ODNR is looking to eliminate third-party certification. Under the title “Certification” the Division of Forestry 2015 work plan draft reads - “In the fall of 2014 the Division of Forestry will undergo the last surveillance audit on its current FSC certificate. The contract with NSF-International, the lead auditing contractor, will expire shortly thereafter.”
It goes on to say - “The Division is seeking public input on whether forest certification with the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) should be continued beyond this period. This input is important for gauging the value that the public has placed on certification of state forests. Independent evaluation of our forestry management has been helpful. However, maintaining certification is not without costs and this funding could potentially be used for other Division of Forestry programs. If certification by either or both the SFI and FSC were allowed to expire, the Division would maintain a commitment to utilizing professionally accepted policies and practices for forest management activities.”
Tipton, whose organization is opposed to many of the clear-cutting practices in Shawnee Forest, said it is important that people attend the open house event.
“This is the one and only public meeting where you can see the planned destruction of our forests for 2015 and to get to talk to Division of Forestry personnel,” Tipton said. “I would like to see a large turnout.”
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 1928, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.