First of its Kind
By Diane Mettler & Kurt Glaeseman
Most of you who attended the Oregon Logging Conference
this past February probably knew there
would be changes. But for those who didn't, there
was undoubtedly some surprise to find few large equipment
displays. Instead, companies like Cat, Komatsu, and Papé had booths inside.
It's the sign of the times. Many equipment dealers, in an
effort to do business more efficiently and economically,
agreed to bring their equipment every other year. As this was
a big adjustment for the 68-year-old show, dealers, conference
officials and attendees were a little apprehensive. They
need not have worried. Loggers, who have shown they can
weather just about anything, took the show in stride. Over
2,000 registered and attended the classes. And there isn't a
number yet for general attendance — but it looks like it was
“I talked to a lot of exhibitors and they were happy with
the show,” says Rikki Wellman, OLC conference coordinator.“Those who chose not to have the heavy equipment felt it
was much better than they had thought it would be.”
There were other elements of the show that did not
change. The sawdust bowl was as loud and raucous as ever. And the Oregon Women in Timber
held its annual auction to
raise educational funds for the
Talk about Trees program. The
auction this year brought in a
total of $118,000, not including a
Ford's donation of $10,000.
OLC President Gordon Culbertson,
a forceful and insightful
speaker, did not discuss the woeful state of the logging industry
when he addressed the attendees. An optimist and
problem-solver, he recognized obstacles that have eroded the
logging community, yet also saw remedies and opportunities.
Aprimary recommendation was the considerate and humane
treatment and training of the next generation of
loggers and foresters
whose charge “…is to
wood products in a
According to Culbertson,
improved timber utilization
more value from the
a changing labor demand
Jobs in high tech forest
and wood technology
that were unheard of
only a decade ago are
now a must.
The logging industry is a changing world, and Culbertson
suggested that those who can respond to change with imagination,
resources and tenacity are those who will prosper.
“We all owe debts of gratitude to those who have helped
us along our own journey,” says Culbertson, “and we are accountable
to the next generation.” Generous time and willingness
to encourage and mentor the next generation as they
enter the logging industry is just another example of macrosustainability.
Dr. Hal Salwasser, Dean of the College of Forestry and
Director of Oregon's Forest Research Laboratory at Oregon
State University, was the keynote speaker. Dr. Salwasser discussed
the challenges facing the forest industry if it is to remain
competitive and productive in an aggressive global
economy. Following are some major trends that he placed
on high priority:
• We must maintain forestlands for high-value forest use.
Globally we lose 32 million acres of forestland per year.
Although 14 million acres are replaced, we see a net loss
of 18 million acres. Biodiversity is again a major consideration.
• We must learn to better utilize the capacity of our federal
forests. They can provide a share of the wood-based products
that are high in demand, and they can create rural
jobs and an infusion of money
into rural communities.
• We must continue to boost the
productivity of private forests.
The demand for wood-based
products is escalating. Unfortunately,
private forests are often
vulnerable to urban and exurban
sprawl, not just in the
Atlanta or Boston areas, but
also near Portland and Bend.
• We must seek to remain attractive as a supplier of forest
products in the global capital markets. Issues like political
instability, global climatic changes, and “black market”
lumber from Russia and the Philippines cannot be ignored.
Seminars & Panels
In addition to the regular panels and seminars available,
OLC this year offered for the first time three “hands-on seminars.” They covered cable splicing, hydraulic troubleshooting
and maintenance, as well as trucking safety, and were all
One of the popular seminars at OLC 2006 was “Communicating
Forest Practice Procedures to the Men in the Brush.”
Moderated by Milt Moran (Director, Sales & Logging Operations,
Cascade Timber Consulting Inc., Sweet Home,
Ore.), the session was a fast-paced series of speakers who
tackled the problems of communicating Oregon Forest Practices
standards with workers doing the mechanical and
physical labor. Speakers agreed that not all workers needed
to know every facet of an overall plan, but felt a worker
should understand exactly what he or she is responsible for.
And they felt that reading a long harvest plan might not be
the best way to disseminate
Just some of the suggestions
for effective communication
included: walking a worker through a target area
and discussing objectives;
using maps, charts and signs;
and at times incorporating
advice from a seasoned
It was a year of
change. And although
it looked different on
the outside, it was still
the same show - the
same broad scope of information
equipment and technology,
the same top-notch
seminars and panels.
But for those of you
who missed those big
machines — no problem.
They'll be back in
2007, Feburary 21-23.
OLC Pictorial Review