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?
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.
So, for the past 12 years, representatives of the timber industry, conservation community, U.S. Forest Service, non-profit sector and the state of Montana have been working to get to “yes”.
Dennis Becker is the Director of the Policy Analysis Group [PAG} within the College of Natural Resources [CNR] at the University of Idaho.
Mr. McBride was a tree farmer, horse lover, gun collector, hunter safety instructor, military historian, World War II veteran and 1952 graduate of the University of Maine School of Forestry. His long-time friend, Bruce Vincent, an Evergreen Foundation board member, delivered the eulogy.
Kurt Pregitzer is an affable and unpretentious man, not what you'd expect from a PhD forest ecologist who ranks in the top one-half of one percent of the world’s most frequently cited authors.
Just when I thought I'd said all that need be said for now about the cancerous risks of wildfire smoke, a friend sent me a copy of the “Montana/Idaho Wildfire Carbon Emissions Inventory for 2013-2017."
I've been trying for more than 20 years to interest the nation’s health care industry - including the American Lung Association - in this story. “Too controversial,” I was told, again and again. Such is the murderous influence of the “Don’t worry, it’s natural” crowd.
A sea change in how federal judges view collaborative forest restoration is underway. The transformation is revealed in the anatomy of two recent rulings.
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.
“It was downright scary in the beginning,” Schwartz says of what it was like the first time he navigated 80,000 pounds up and down winding, one-lane roads with turnouts that allowed loaded and empty trucks to pass within a whisker of one another. “You're in mud or slush or snow or dust all of the time. You keep an open mind and learn everything you can from more experienced drivers, or you won’t make it.”
“The people in my life – my family and friends – helped me restore my faith in myself; you surround yourself with good people, so you always know where you stand, and you trust each other to do what you say you will do. Show me your friends and I will show you your future."
I would absolutely encourage anyone to pursue a career in forestry or any other natural resource-based career. The more we can introduce local kids to the career opportunities available in their backyard, the better. There's also a shortage of professional truck drivers. We need young people to bring their families back to their hometowns to fill those jobs, especially in light of recent mill closures that will have serious social and economic impacts on communities.
Many young people don't see a future in hauling logs. But the world isn’t using less wood, so these jobs with companies like Olson Trucking will always be here for men and women who enjoy the sense of satisfaction that comes with doing a good day's work.