I appreciate The Gazette’s coverage of Monday’s public meeting regarding the Iowa DNR’s elimination of the Forestry Bureau (“Meeting attendees grill DNR officials over layoffs, cuts,” July 11)
Iowans need to be aware of the State of Iowa’s funding history. The general fund appropriation from the State of Iowa is a large portion of the budget for the Forestry Bureau and the state parks. The Iowa Legislature had decreased this funding by over 50 percent since 2009 before this last round of budget cuts this year.
The DNR has taken the politically expedient approach and not cut the state park allotment as severely as the Forestry Bureau. Decreased funding for the parks proportionally would make Iowa’s funding situation much more visible to the citizens of Iowa and highlight the impact of the largest tax cuts in Iowa’s history. This administration is making “strategic cuts” that are not immediately noticeable and are partially offset by infrastructure degradation.
The Iowa Forestry Bureau is the epitome of a smart, conservative, small-government approach to natural resource management. It enables a small group of well-trained and well-led men and women to assist woodland owners in their timber management and marketing. This promotes private ownership and increases the productivity of this resource. It also leads to significant conservation impacts and feeds an industry that provides employment for many Iowans. Eliminating the Forestry Bureau may be a strategic political choice, but an exceedingly short sighted choice with long term impacts on Iowa.