By Mary Bullwinkel
The latest logging equipment, an historic logging locomotive, and a celebration of the entire industry were all highlighted at the 81st Annual Redwood Region Logging Conference (RRLC), held in Eureka, California, March 14–16, 2019.
Jake Morris of McKinleyville, California-based Morris Logging was the 2019 President under the theme Here Yesterday, Here Today, Here for Tomorrow.
Morris said those who attended learned about the latest technology and how much the industry has evolved. “Our goal remains the same,” he said. “To educate our youth as well as the public, and really show the stewardship of our industry and the management of our most renewable resources for generations to come.”
With more logging equipment on display this year than in previous years at Redwood Acres Fairgrounds in Eureka, California, there was also a higher attendance. Members of the public and the industry could talk one-on-one with industry professionals and vendors who provide products and services to the logging industry. There were also plenty of social events including the Friday night banquet and a dinner honoring past presidents of the RRLC.
One popular event at RRLC is the log loader competition, where operators put a CAT 548 and a John Deere 3756C through their paces. Well-known competitor Bryan Chipps of northern California’s Green Diamond Resource Company claimed the top spot. He took top honors in the RRLC event and was also the winner of the Oregon Logging Conference log loader competition held in February in Eugene, Oregon.
As Morris mentioned, education is a strong focus of the Redwood Region Logging Conference. Thursday was Education Day with visits from more than 1,500 local students (3rd through 6th grade), and Friday was Career Day for local high school students to meet with industry professionals and rotate through educational stations.
“By educating our youth through the conference and our RRLC scholarship program, we strive to help our high school and college students pursuing a career in our industry understand that the resource we have today will still be a strong, viable resource in the future,” Morris said.
The keynote speaker for the 81st annual RRLC was Green Diamond Resource Company’s Chief Operating Officer Neal Ewald. He talked about the current state of the industry and spoke in support of an upcoming RRLC activity planned in May to get a younger generation of workers involved in the logging industry. The event is called Boots on the Ground and will include local Humboldt County high school students spending the day in the woods at an active logging operation. The students will have an opportunity to see first-hand what it is like to work in the woods and learn more about the industry from professionals as they choose a career.
Each year, the Redwood Region Logging Conference chooses Achievement and Shining Star award winners. The 2019 Achievement award winner is Tony Leonardo of Fortuna, California-based Leonardo Logging, and the Shining Star winner is Linda Herron, a 40-year timber industry supporter, currently employed at Green Diamond Resource Company.
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