Pathways to Participation and State Forest Information
Any interested citizen or stakeholder has a pathway in which they can participate in the management of Ohio’s State Forests. In addition, the Division actively seeks consultation on efforts that affect state forests such as: The Shawnee Wilderness Plan, the State Forest 5-year Management Plans, the Strategic Plan, the High Conservation Value Forest assessment, etc.
The following items are written as a guideline for discerning the appropriate pathway that a citizen has available to them for participation in the management of Ohio’s State Forests.
Pathway #1 - The Forest Advisory Council
The Forest Advisory Council
is a Governor-appointed council whose mandate is to provide additional advisory functions to the Chief of the Division. As established by Ohio Revised Code section 1502.40, the Forestry Advisory Council may advise and make recommendations to the Chief concerning forestry practices and programs in the state, including programs of the Division, and may assist the Division in promoting cooperation on forestry practices and programs with other agencies, political subdivisions, and private interests. The Council consists of eight members appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the State Senate. Members represent forest-based research activities, small private forestland owners, larger private forestland owners, the pulp and paper industry, other forest industries, soil science, forest recreation and the public. Each serves a four-year term and not more than four are permitted from the same political party. The Council holds regular quarterly meetings, and has a chairman, vice-chairman and secretary.
Pathway #2 - The Annual Open House
The Division of Forestry is committed to providing Ohioans with useful information and furnishing ongoing opportunities for public input and program improvement. The Division of Forestry invites public participation at annual state forest open houses. State forest open house announcements, work plans, and strategic plans are posted on the web site, as well as copies of media releases inviting public participation.
State forest open houses are important aspects of the Division of Forestry’s outreach and the primary way of gathering informed input from interested stakeholders. Each state forest is represented at open houses held annually in late summer at centralized district offices or at individual state forest headquarters during evening hours on weekdays. District supervisors, forest managers, field foresters, and division program specialists are present for individual interaction with the public. The Division of Forestry Strategic Plan, annual state forest unit work plans, zoning changes, land acquisition, resource management proposals for regeneration harvests or salvaging operations, timber stand improvement projects, invasive species control, prescribed burning schedules, recreation trail work, facility and road maintenance, budget, wildfire prevention programs, public information and outreach, and law enforcement issues are components of written open house documents presented for public review.
Notification of open houses is made by mailings to interested individuals and constituent groups on the state forest stakeholder list, newspaper legal notices or news releases, and Division of Forestry website postings. Current open house and special plan documents are posted on the website prior to open houses and for the following year. Verbal or written comments are invited at the open houses, or written or email comments afterwards. Written responses to public comments may be made after the end of the comment period following the open houses. Open house attendees are asked to register, and these sign-in sheets are used for updating the stakeholder list and addressing individual questions or information requests.
Comments and input received during or after an annual open house are discussed and addressed at the next meeting of the Division’s Integration Committee. The Integration Committee’s purpose is to provide management review of the activities on state forests and to address public input. Click here
to view a list of our Open Houses.
The Division actively seeks consultation during planning and assessment phases of our operations. Consultations take a variety of forms from informal discussions with partners to more formal public meetings and website postings. The consultation process usually begins internally with affected staff and in-house experts who provide input and recommendations. Next, the Division seeks consultation with The Forest Advisory Council, our sister DNR divisions, and with our partner agencies or NGO’s. Finally, consultation is offered to indigenous peoples representatives, academia, and to the public. The results of the consultations are discussed and addressed at the next meeting of the Division’s Integration Committee.
The Division of Forestry maintains an interested stakeholder list of many hundreds of Ohio residents and groups that have expressed interest or have commented on state forest issues. These stakeholders receive periodic notification of open houses, opportunities to comment on plans, or special information. State forest staff attend fire department association meetings, forest managers network with state, federal, and local agencies, and district forest managers and central staff make regular contacts with state legislators and officials to keep them informed about Ohio’s forest resources and state forest resource management.
Pathway #4 - Public Records Requests
Ohio’s Sunshine Laws are based on the principles of democracy. The ODNR -Division of Forestry is governed by an committed to The Open Meetings Act and the Public Records Act. All supervisory staff at the Division of Forestry have received training by the Attorney General’s Office on the implementation of all of Ohio’s Sunshine Laws. Further, each supervisor has a copy of these statues in a reference manual in their offices.
The Division of Forestry also has implemented an internal process for proper handling of public records requests in order to comply with the statues and to better serve interested citizens. We provide open and transparent public records to thoroughly and timely meet requests for questions about Ohio State Forests. You are invited to write, telephone, or personally visit the state, district & local offices of the Division.
ODNR Division of Forestry
2045 Morse Rd. Bldg H-1
Columbus, OH 43229
Toll free (877) 247-8733
Division of Forestry Division of Forestry
Northern District Headquarters Southern District Headquarters
952 Lima Ave. 345 Allen Ave.
Findlay, OH 45840 Chillicothe, OH 45601
(419) 424-5004 (740) 774-1596
For general information, specific public records requests, or to contact the Forestry Advisory Council: