I am going to do this by asking all of you a very provocative question - one that I hope you will, in turn, ask each other throughout the course of convention.The question is: Does the logging industry have a future in the New Intermountain West?
more to the point, what qualifies me to address a topic as vital to your interests as land ownership changes. The one-word answer to this question is...
Dick asked me if I knew where we might find a map showing all of the timberland ownerships in northern Idaho – not just an ordinary map, but one that had an overlay that shows at risk federal forest lands – these being lands that pose an insect, disease or fire risk to adjacent private and state timberland owners.
Let me assure you I am not a malcontent. In fact, I'm normally a pretty cheery guy, but of late I have begun to fret quietly about a matter of great concern to me. It is the cultural divide – dare I say chasm – that now distances the rural America where I live from the urban America where most of the country lives.
For those of you who want to take notes, my title is, “No Mill, No Market, No Forest, No. 2.”I delivered No. 1 at a Forest Service-sponsored conference in Denver in January of 2004. Why I was invited remains a mystery to me, but it was easily the second most hated speech I've ever given. More on that in a moment.
I confess I have struggled mightily with what to say to you this afternoon. Fifteen minutes is not a long time in which to cover 20 years of research, writing and travel; and it is certainly not enough time in which to sort through the underpinnings of an ecological crisis that was 150 years in the making.
As many of you know, I got my start in our industry in southern Oregon, but not at Evergreen, for which I am best known. More than a decade before its' founding, 1971 to be exact, I went to work for D.R. Johnson. He hired me to do public relations work for the company and for the old Northwest Timber Association. He was president that year.
Your conference seeks to encourage you to become better leaders. That's a good thing because leadership is sorely lacking in the forestry and forest products manufacturing worlds today. Everyone seems to be going their own way. There are no leaders and there is no script. We are all freelancers doing our own thing in a world in which most now get their news through their favorite social media algorithms.
When Mike Albrecht asked me if I'd be willing to spend some time with you this afternoon, he said he was looking for someone who could provide you with a vision for the future that is both optimistic and realistic. Then he added that he wasn’t sure that the words “optimistic” and “realistic” could exist in the same sentence.
The term “felt necessities” is taken from The Common Law, a book of essays assembled in 1881 by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., in which he explains the historic underpinnings of the nation's legal system. President Theodore Roosevelt thought to much of Holmes’ essays that nominated him to the Supreme Court in 1902.
20.4 million acres of beautiful Idaho – fully 40 percent of the state's entire land mass and 75 percent of its total forest land base – are owned by the United States Government and cared for by the U.S. Forest Service. Here, I will stipulate that the phrase “cared for” should be used advisedly, and should generally appear in quotes.
So much is at stake and so few seem to get it – the “it” here being the fact that Montana's timber industry is teetering on the brink of collapse at the precise same moment when it ought to be laying the cornerstone for its own bright future.
What we are – and I include all of us in this description – is a collection of small, medium and large businesses. The largest are generally public traded companies, like Weyerhaeuser, Temple Inland and Louisiana Pacific. But most of our so-called industry is family-owned. The only thing we have in common with one another is the tree itself.
Good morning. I am your second-string keynote speaker. Your first-string speaker, Marc Racicot begged off, perhaps recognizing what a political mine field your conference theme poses. “The Law and Forestry”: oil and water, David and Goliath, night and day, the good the bad and the ugly. You get the picture.