March and April 2006



First of its Kind

OLC Review

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.

New Era

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 over 5,000.

“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.

President's Address

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 provide society's wood products in a sustainable manner.”

According to Culbertson, manufacturing technology and improved timber utilization already allow more value from the stump. Consequently,
a changing labor demand has developed:

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.

Keynote Speaker

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 well received.

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 critical information.

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 operator.

Looking Ahead to 2007

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 on forestry
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




This page was last updated on Tuesday, September 19, 2006