AFRC held their Annual Meeting over three busy days at Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, Washington, April 23-25. More than 130 individuals from the forest products industry, Forest Service, BLM, State land management agencies, elected officials, practitioners, community organizers, and regional leaders attended the meeting.
Highlights included hearing from Senator Steve Daines (MT), a champion of active forest management in the U.S. Senate and member of the powerful Appropriations and Finance committees, as well as the important Energy and Natural Resources and Indian Affairs committees. Daines discussed his efforts to find a long-term solution to the adverse Cottonwood decision; his push for litigation relief such as binding arbitration; and his leadership to clarify and expand the Good Neighbor Authority (GNA) — one of the most effective management tools to pass Congress.
AFRC President Travis Joseph kicked off Wednesday with the “State of the Association,” highlighting policy, legal, grassroots, and monitoring program successes. And Chris French, the acting deputy chief of the Forest Service, provided an update on the ongoing efforts by Forest Service headquarters to modernize the agency; improve internal efficiencies and processes that will lead to more work on the ground; and address cultural and communication issues to maximize all available tools and financial resources. French noted the Forest Service sold more than three billion board feet (bbf) of timber in 2018, the first time the agency exceeded three bbf in over 20 years.
Congressman Kurt Schrader (OR-05) also spoke about forest management reforms in a divided United States Congress. The Congressman reaffirmed how the economic, ecological, and health impacts of catastrophic fires and smoke are opening the eyes of Democratic and urban leaders who are typically unengaged on forest management issues.
R L Smith Logging Inc. and their Pacific Forest Foundation Adopt a High School (AAHS) program took another step forward this spring when Triad Machinery sponsored a field trip for students from Wishkah High School in Aberdeen, Washington.
Roger Smith, owner of RL Smith Logging, had successfully presented the AAHS program to seventy Wishkah 7–12th graders in November and saw another opportunity when his company would be logging a job in the spring on Rayonier land, near their school.
The school chose to include only those students in the top two grades who were truly interested in forestry, mechanics, and logging, to participate in the field trip so they would not be distracted by those less interested.
The students were lucky enough to see tower logging, processing, loading, feller bunching, shovel logging, skidder logging, winch assist cutting, grapple logging, and log truck driving. The variety of equipment rivaled that of the Pacific Logging Congress Live In-Woods show, which also focuses on educating youth.
The students also learned about different paths into the industry, as well as information about forest management.
Roger talked to the kids about the logger’s side of the industry, explaining equipment costs, the kind of employees people are looking to hire, communication between operators, safety, and expectations of the industry. “The days of brute strength are gone,” said Roger. He emphasized, “We need to do it smart and use technology.”
The students left enthused about the industry.
ON THE COVER
Overhead image of DaPaul Chip using at Doosan DX300LL at its site in Tumwater, Wash.
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