By Mary Bullwinkel
The 8th Annual Pacific Logging Congress Live In-Woods show held September 13–15 just outside Corvallis, Oregon, was a chance for industry professionals to show off. State-of-the-art equipment and the latest in technology were on display and in use for all to see how advanced the logging industry has become. A total of 40 exhibitors participated.
Equipment in Action
“Our industry is experiencing a tremendous movement in incorporating technological advancements into our daily operations,” said Jeff Wimer, 2018 Pacific Logging Congress (PLC) president and Oregon State University (OSU) senior instructor in Forest engineering, Resource, and Management. “Tethered assist, remote-control operations, virtual reality, and drone technology are being utilized to help create a much safer and productive work environment.”
The three-day In-Woods show was held on the OSU College of Forestry Dunn Research Forest and included live demonstrations of a variety of harvesting and logging techniques, along with the opportunity for those attending to gain a better understanding of new technologies and how they are applied throughout the forest products industry.
Every four years, the PLC hosts the Live In-Woods show, where equipment manufacturers demonstrate their products in an actual logging operation format. Wimer said this is the first year the show included tether assist, drone, and cable logging demonstrations. “It was fun to see the expression on the students’ faces when they first walked out and looked over the edge between the yarder and the tethered assist,” Wimer remarked. “One even said, ‘It was like you were sitting on top of the world.’”
He added, “Our goal was to provide a safe, fun, and educational experience for the thousands of students, teachers, families, individuals, vendors, logging contractors, and land managers in attendance — and that goal was met!” He said attendees were able to view multiple manufacturers from a single viewpoint and develop a better understanding of how a healthy forest is managed for a variety of products.
Logging contractors also had an opportunity to earn professional logger credits by attending two days of onsite seminars. Day One topics included deadman and multi-stump anchoring, tree, stand, and management consideration in cut-to-length thinning operations, protecting the logging workforce, and drone applications. Day Two topics were winch-assist harvesting, machine computer systems, and equipment trends, EPA changes, and current and future technology for marketing logging gear.
The PLC’s mandate of education was on full display at the In-Woods show, as tour guides led approximately 500 high school students and teachers, broken into small groups, to view live demonstrations and talk one-on-one with industry professionals, including equipment manufacturers, loggers, and others. PLC worked closely with the Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) in coordinating the students’ visits. Forest management topics covered included protection of water, air, wildlife habitat, and recreation enhancement.
Wimer said the high school students who visited the show are the next generation of loggers, foresters, and industry professionals. “It is important that we show the next generation the opportunities that exist in our industry,” he said, “and that our industry provides great prospects to earn a decent living. I spent my lifetime in the woods and wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
Northern California resident and PLC Past President Stanwood “Woody” Murphy put it this way, “We were successful in creating a connection with the next generation workforce for the logging industry, and that will be key to our survival.”
Dinner and Auction
The dinner and auction on September 14 was attended by more than 220 industry representatives and their families and friends. Proceeds from the auction, which totaled approximately $26,000, will benefit the Pacific Forest Foundation (PFF), the educational arm of PLC. Since 2013 PFF has awarded more than $107,000 in forestry-related scholarships.
The first meeting of the Pacific Logging Congress was held in 1909 in Seattle, Washington. The first three-day meeting covered sanitation, food supply, use of electricity in logging, elimination of fire hazards, fire prevention, how to log on grades too steep for locomotives, and a tax increase facing loggers in Mendocino County, California.
At the first meeting, PLC Secretary George Cornwall said, “Loggers should have frequent contact if they expect to keep pace with the changing times and benefit from associated effort and a frank exchange of views.” Today PLC is proud to call itself “the unified voice of the western logging industry.”
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