Three logging firms have been selected as 2021 Operators of the Year, and five logging firms have received 2021 Merit awards from the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF)
The 2021 Operators of the Year are:
The 2021 Merit award winners are:
These logging firms were honored virtually in January by ODF and will be recognized at the Oregon Logging Conference Thursday, February 24th.
All Around Logging, LLC – Northwest Oregon 2021 Operator of the Year
All Around Logging, LLC owner Aaron Silbernagel was recognized for his work helping numerous small landowners devastated by the Beachie Fire, which burned 193,000 acres in eastern Marion and Linn Counties in September of 2020. Silbernagel helped landowners access what timber could be salvaged after the fire. He not only harvested the trees but worked to find mills that would take the scorched logs. He also worked with the North Santiam Watershed Council and Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District to find native seedlings to help reforest the burned areas up and down the Santiam Canyon.
Plikat Logging, Inc. – Southwest Oregon 2021 Operator of the Year
Owned by Wally Plikat, this company took on a difficult operation on a unit in Douglas County that bordered a busy state highway, had two different utility powerlines running through it, and a fish-bearing stream and wetlands. Plikat Logging Supervisor and Wally’s son Jeff explained that excellent communication and coordination with utilities during logging prevented any damage to powerlines, avoiding disruptions to customers. Thoughtful selection of access roads and timing more logging at night also avoided traffic delays on the bordering highway. Felling parallel to the stream and choosing landing sites carefully also helped preserve intact the buffer zone protecting the stream and wetlands.
H Timber Contracting –Eastern Oregon 2021 Operator of the Year
Tony Hauth and his company were selected for this award based on his protection of a fish-bearing stream flowing through the middle of a timber stand being harvested near John Day. With no road access to the east bank, Hauth had to install two temporary crossings by placing a 36-inch-high culvert and covering it with logs. Timber from the east side of the stream was felled and then passed by a mechanical arm across the stream to minimize any impact to the stream or vegetation along it. Access on the west bank required rebuilding a disused old road close to the stream. Large rocks and several logs were used to armor the bank to prevent sediment from entering the stream. All streamside vegetation was protected from damage through the course of the harvest.
Of the Operators of the Year, ODF Forest Resources Division Interim Chief Josh Barnard said, “This year’s honorees represent innovation to protect water quality, care in harvesting that leaves an overcrowded forest in a safer, healthier state, and helping others begin to recover in the wake of devastating wildfire. They have shown an outstanding ability to meet landowner objectives while exercising extraordinary care and diligence in challenging harvesting situations,” he added. “We’re pleased to recognize the leadership and community spirit these operators have shown,” Barnard said.
Regional Forest Practices committees select the operators of the year and merit award recipients from among nominees sent in by landowners, ODF staff and others. The award recognizes forest operators who, while harvesting timber or doing other forestry work, protect natural resources at a level that goes above and beyond requirements of the Oregon Forest Practices Act.
Videos about each of the three Operators of the Year and five Merit Award winners can be viewed on the ODF website, www.oregon.gov/odf/Working/Pages/default.aspx.
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Photo taken by Andrea Watts of Pacific Logging and Processing
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