Secondary wood manufacturint
Secondary wood manufacturing contributes 8,884 jobs and $1.8 billion to Maine's economy, about 20 percent of the forest products industry’s impact.

What’s up with Maine’s white pine?

Ken Laustsen, biometrician for the Maine Forest Service, reported on the status of white pine at the MFPC Board meeting Nov. 9. “Eastern White Pine is still ranked statewide as #3 in total live merchantable volume and #1 in sawtimber volume,” Laustsen said. “Over the last 20 years, concerns have been occasionally raised about the status and prospects of this species.The presentation addresses both issues, looking at the forest type’s core area and the broader statewide trends.” Status of white pine in Maine slide presentation

Defoliation by spruce budworm at Maine’s border

Although we have still not picked up defoliation by spruce budworm in Maine, surveyors in New Brunswick have, including some right across our border.  Observers recorded very light and scattered defoliation on the New Brunswick side of the St. John River between Madawaska and St. Francis in ground plots.  Aerial survey and additional ground plots picked up a total of about 3,700 acres of light, scattered defoliation in the northern third of New Brunswick.    

The detections near the St. John River were a result of roadside surveys conducted by the province.  Host branches from about one in four ground plots were found to have trace to light defoliation.  This is not the sort of damage that would be picked up by a casual observer, nor through the level of operational monitoring conducted in Maine at current levels of spruce budworm populations.    

The eastern spruce budworm, Choristoneura fumiferana, is a native moth that feeds on spruce and fir needles as a caterpillar (larva).  This species has cyclical populations that build when the host trees mature.   Populations reached epidemic levels in Maine, leading to tree growth loss and mortality, three times in the last century.

In Maine, spruce budworm feeds on the spruces (native white, red, black and introduced species) and balsam fir.  Within that group, the budworm has favorite foods.  It does best on balsam fir and white spruce whose buds begin to expand early in the spring when the caterpillars are ready to feed.  Red and black spruce buds swell after those of white spruce and fir, so the species are not as well suited for feeding by young spruce budworm caterpillars.  Maine has about 5.8 million acres of spruce and fir dominated forests, an area equal to the size of New Hampshire.

Defoliation has intensified on the Quebec side of the border as well, with increases in area and intensity seen in the Bas-Saint-Laurent Region, which lies closest to our northwestern border.  The Province of Quebec has been mapping defoliation from this pest for more than a decade.  In 2017, more than 17.6 million acres of forest were defoliated across the entire province. 

MFS Cooperator SBW pheromone trap results as of October 16, 2017; approximately 62 percent of sites have not been processed. Click image for larger version of map.

The Maine Forest Service (MFS)-led cooperative pheromone trap effort for spruce budworm is wrapping up for the year.  As in the last several years, around 20 organizations participated in the program. Several cooperators have retrieved their traps and sent in samples.  Others will be collecting samples next month, at the same time as a Cooperative Forest Research Unit-led overwintering larvae (L2) survey. In addition, volunteers with the Healthy Forest Partnership, Budworm Tracker Program have brought in their traps for the year and are sending in their catches.  Together, the data from these sites should give us a decent picture of spruce budworm populations in Maine, including potential impacts from moths coming in from the infestation in Canada. 

To date, about 38 percent of the MFS-Cooperator sites have been received and counted. Based on that sample, catches are on par with last year—down significantly from the summer of 2015. Across 160 sites, the average catch is about 7.5 moths per trap (average on the same sites was about 5.5 in 2016). Catches range from 0 to 68.3 moths/trap. The highest catches are found in a 40-milewide band south of the northern boundary of the state.

Sites in the eastern third of the state are trending towards higher catches than those in the western two thirds—this is apparent from Route 9, north to the St. John River. We anticipate receiving moths from more than 250 additional sites, and the picture could change before the dust (composed of moth scales in this case) has settled from those samples.

In addition to participating in the CFRU-led L2 surveys, MFS will conduct targeted surveys of host stands in the coming months in regions closest to the observed defoliation in Canada, and in response to high trap catches.

The coming epidemic of spruce budworm in Maine’s forests will probably be less severe than that in the 1970s-1980s.   However, a significant loss of trees and wide-ranging impacts to Maine’s natural-resource based-economy, forest structure and composition, wildlife and society are expected. Forest and social conditions in Maine have changed greatly since the last outbreak, so it is hard to nail down specifics of what the next will bring.  The low populations, and lack of detected defoliation to date, gives forestland owners and managers, as well as others who will be impacted, additional time to prepare.

Read new MFS report on Forest & Shade Tree – Insect & Disease Conditions for Maine.

Maine SFI wins 2017 Committee Achievement Award

From left, Scott MacDougall, Irving Woodlands LLC; Elizabeth Farrell, American Forest Management; Gordon Gamble, Wagner Forest Management; Jim Contino, Verso; Pat Sirois, SFI Maine, and Jason Metnick, SFI Inc.

Ottawa, ON — The Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. (SFI) announced today that the Maine SFI Implementation Committee is the winner of the 2017 SFI Implementation Committee Achievement Award. This award, announced at the SFI Annual Conference, recognizes the exceptional work of the grassroots network of 34 SFI Implementation Committees across the U.S. and Canada. Groups ranging from Habitat for Humanity and Boy Scouts to universities and Ducks Unlimited Canada work with SFI implementation committees.

Pat Sirois

“Education and outreach have long been a strength of the Maine SFI Implementation Committee. Every year we hold multiple events and workshops that involve hundreds of people and benefit our communities. Having these efforts recognized with an SFI award is hugely gratifying,” said Pat Sirois, the Maine SFI Coordinator. “This award really belongs to the network of countless people who care about Maine’s forests. We all share the benefits of the healthy, productive forests that are such a significant
part of the quality of life in our state.”

The Maine committee was selected based on education outreach efforts focused on water quality, a community partnership with Make-A-Wish Maine, which grants the wishes of children diagnosed with life- threatening illnesses, and the growth of the SFI Program.

“The Maine committee exemplifies SFI’s connection with environmental education, community engagement, and outdoor recreation for all,” said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI Inc.

Education outreach highlights from 2017 included an expanded flume table program. The flume tables are sandboxes about the size and height of a kitchen table. They started out as a teaching aid to demonstrate natural stream functions. They have evolved into an effective SFI outreach tool to raise awareness of sustainable forest management, and best management practices for water quality.

The tables are used during Project Learning Tree (PLT) workshops. PLT is an award-winning environmental education program that uses trees and forests as windows on the world to increase youth understanding of the environment and actions they can take to conserve it. PLT became an SFI program in July and this new relationship will strengthen SFI’s growing youth education efforts.

Support for Make-A-Wish Maine brightened the lives of two boys (watch the video). For 13-year old Kyan MacDonald, a cabin delivered to his home is a dream come true. “Kyan’s Kabin,” complete with two lofts, built-in storage and windows letting in plenty of light, was unveiled as a surprise on August 9. Kyan was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and is now in remission.

On July 20, four-year-old Derek Wilson got his own, one-of-a-kind Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle-themed playhouse. The main part of the playhouse is a two-floor block and it includes custom-made doors feature Derek’s name. Derek was diagnosed with leukemia almost three years ago and remains in treatment.

Supporting Make-A-Wish Maine is a powerful example of SFI’s innovative approach to community engagement, which focuses on working with a diverse group of partners. Both projects were made with donated materials certified to SFI from SFI Program Participants. Advantech subflooring came from Huber Engineered Woods. J.D. Irving provided spruce dimensional lumber. Laminated strand lumber came from Louisiana-Pacific. Weyerhauser supplied pressure treated lumber. The Seven Islands land
company donated maple flooring.

The Maine committee continued to grow in 2017. Conservation Forestry joined SFI with its 359,000 acres managed by Huber Resources. Prentiss and Carlisle also brought their 748,000 acres into the SFI Program. SFI’s expanded footprint is also good news for outdoor enthusiasts — 98 percent of 285 million acres/115 million hectares is available for outdoor recreation.

“The Maine committee’s focus on environmental education, community engagement, and outdoor recreation is part of a long tradition of supporting SFI’s larger strategic goals and providing leadership for other SFI committees,” said Gordy Mouw, SFI’s Director of Program Participant Relations.

At 57th annual meeting, MFPC tackles biomass, CHP, secondary wood manufacturing and strategic planning

MFPC members and others in the forest products industry gathered at the Samoset Resort  Sept. 18 to hear about what’s happening in our industry and to exchange ideas about where it should be headed. 

“Great annual meeting!” said Mark Doty of Weyerhaeuser.

The Council also released the third in its series of reports on the state’s forest economy: Secondary Wood Manufacturing in Maine. Also known as value-added wood manufacturing, it is generally defined as continued manufacturing beyond the production of lumber.

“Great job. I really enjoyed the meeting,” said Drew Cota of Cross Insurance. “I was congratulating some of the companies on their info in Secondary Wood Manufacturing in Maine.”

“I look forward to talking with long time friends and business relationships,” said Dick Robertson, formerly of Farm Credit East. “I felt positive and encouraged about the  future of Maine’s forest products industry.  Timely and relevant speakers.  Always a great event and well planned/organized by Executive Director Patrick Strauch and staff.” 

Secondary wood processing once played an enormous role in Maine’s rural economy, with mills in many towns across the state. Then from roughly 1998 to 2008, a flood of imports put many mills out of business. In 2003 alone about a dozen closed.  The survivors, however, learned lessons about how to survive in global markets and their industry is now growing again.

“Maine has the strongest secondary manufacturing of all the Northern New England states by far,” said Dave Redmond, director of Wood Products Initiatives at the Northern Forest Center. “Several wood products busi­nesses during the recession went out of business, but the remaining businesses were stronger and were able to pick up the pieces and move forward.”

At the request of the Maine Forest Products Council (MFPC), Dr. Mindy Crandall and doctoral candidate James Anderson III studied the economic impact of secondary wood manufacturing in Maine in 2014, comparing it to similar Michigan research, which was released in 2016. They found the total impact was 8,884 jobs and $1.8 billion in 2014, about 20 percent of the forest products industry’s $10.2 billion 2014 impact.

“Those jobs can make a big difference for specific communities,” Crandall said.

Executive Director Patrick Strauch and MFPC lobbyist Michele MacLean updated members on what’s happening on the political front. 

Featured speakers at the MFPC annual meeting were:

Dr. Petri Sirviö director of Incubation/New Business Development at Stora Enso Oyj, a leading multinational forest products company, speaking about Reinventing the Forest Products Industry: What can we learn from Finland? See videoPetri Sirvio slide presentation

Craig Rawlings, president and CEO of the Forest Business Network, who is recognized as a national expert and leader in under-utilized timber and woody biomass, speaking about The Challenges Facing Biomass Even in Timber Rich State. See videoCraig Rawlings slide presentation

Members also had an opportunity to consider if combined heat and power (CHP) is right for their businesses, thanks to an-in-depth panel discussion by Alden Robbins,  Robbins Lumber; Chuck Qualey, APPI, Robert Linkletter, Maine Wood Pellets Co.; Benjamin McDaniel, Research Fellow. University of Massachusetts Amherst, Center for Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy and U.S. DOE Northeast CHP Technical Assistance Partnership, and moderator Eric Kingsley, partner, Innovative Natural Resource Solutions. See video.

Russell Edgar, Senior Lab Operations and Wood Composites Manager, University of Maine, told us what’s happening with mass timber in Maine. See video. Maine Mass Timber slide presentation. And Sarah Curran reported on the progress of the Maine Forest Economic Growth Initiative, also known as the “road map.”

“Overall I thought the meeting was great,” said Jimmy Robbins Sr. of Robbins Lumber. “The speaker subjects were very timely.”  

MFPC also announced its annual awards for “the best of 2017,” including:

  • Steve Schley, president of Pingree Associates in Bangor, received the Albert D. Nutting Award “in recognition of his leadership and innovation in the forest industry, his passion for strategic planning, and his accomplishments as a forest landowner, business leader and conservationist.” The award has been presented annually since 1990 to a remarkable group of individuals, each of them truly unique, but with a common commitment to Maine and its forest industry.
  • Barry Burgason, retired wildlife biologist from Huber Resources, received the Abby Holman Public Service Award “in recognition of his leadership and dedication to wildlife habitat management and his strong support for public education, as well as cooperation between sportsmen and landowners.” The Holman award recognizes outstanding service on behalf of Maine’s forest products industry.
  • Win Smith of Limington Lumber was named Maine’s Outstanding Manufacturer, “in recognition of outstanding quality control, safety performance, progressive management and sustained business growth since 1961.”
  • Dan Qualey of Qualey Logging in Benedicta was chosen as Maine’s Outstanding Logger “in recognition of exemplary on the ground performance and an unwavering commitment to meeting the management objectives of the landowner.” 
  • President’s Award: MFPC President Jim Contino presented Eric Dumond of Waterville, formerly of ReEnergy and now vice president of procurement at Maine Biomass Exports, with a special award “in recognition of supply chain excellence for woody biomass through a unique field chipper lease-to-own program that expanded production capacity to meet growing demand from 2001 through 2016.”

More information about MFPC awards.

Top 10 reasons to remain optimistic about our industry

MFPC President Jim Contino’s address to members at 2017 Awards Banquet

Top Ten List on Why to Remain Optimistic about the Future of our Forest Products Industry here in Maine:

  1. Regardless of our temporary market contractions, the trees in our factory remain in full production and continue to produce a high quality product. We don’t need to worry about warehouse space or capital costs for holding excess inventory – mother nature has taken care of all this for us without cost. I consider it a loan guarantee from God.
  2. The history of using trees in North America is full of starts and stops. We just happen to be in the middle of one. Every bit of market contraction that we experience represents an opportunity to be exploited in the future. The more we accumulate growing stock inventory, the larger the opportunity for new investment becomes. This is simply the way a free market economy works. I would not want it any other way.
  3. As Eric Kingsley points out in just about every presentation I have seen him give, “Maine is uniquely positioned to use trees for economic good.” There is hardly another place on the globe of where so many people (with money) live on the fringe of a sustainable forest with extra products to harvest. Investment in new consumption here in Maine is not a matter of if – it is only a question of when. I bet my reputation on it.
  4. Even if we drag our feet with new consumption investment, Europe and Asia economies remain short on fiber and are well aware of our underutilized deep water ports. Exports represent a viable bridge to market contractions and many people are eyeing this opportunity as fiber costs decline.
  5. Maine is truly a special place because it is 85 percent forested and 94 percent privately owned. Projects and deals can happen much faster here in Maine because of this compared to most other place in the world.
  6. Much of the working forest is still owned by large landowners. Developers can actually meet with a half dozen individuals to line up the majority of their fiber supply for most new projects in a matter of a few days. This ability to baseload the required fiber commitments are truly unique. In many ways it is superior to the crown allocations that we compete against in Canada. Just ask Charlotte Mace if you don’t believe me.
  7. Don’t give up yet on the mills that are still running. Most are still working hard to reinvent themselves and to retool to make new products. I know for a fact that many mills are scoping new investment in tissue and packaging, which are the growth sectors of our economy today. It’s hard work to raise the capital in this economy so give them a chance.
  8. Loggers are a resilient group. Sure they got smaller because they had to but most are still in business with the capability to grow quickly if and when markets rebound. Many are diversifying as any smart businessman would, but the point is they are still here.
  9. You heard much about the Roadmap project earlier today. We have lots of good people working hard to make plans to advertise everything I am saying to prospective investors and projects. Every aspect of our forest economy is having strategy discussions because of this project:

    • Wood inventory and wood availability.
    • Transportation
    • Technology
    • Markets
    • Research
    • Energy and Biomass strategy

  10.   Take stock on the weather extremes – people are going to move to Maine – you just wait! We like Colorado but where is the water going to come from? We like the western mountains, but they are all on fire! We already lived in the south and Nancy told me I was welcomed to move back there with my second wife! Given the choices, I suspect we will retire right here in Maine.

The future role of MFPC is more important than ever, but it pretty much remains unchanged:

                        • To influence state policy
                        • To be a voice in Augusta to the governor, House, and Senate.
                        • Advise our Federal delegations on national issues of importance
                        • To provide leadership and coordination of the road map work
                        • To preserve the peace between members with competing interests (ha ha…). To define the common ground that we can work on together.

Our mission is still valid and important. We might not change the eventual outcome of how our industry reinvents itself but I bet we absolutely will influence the timetable by which it occurs. My challenge to you is to lend your voice and talents to help do this important work.

Recognition: In closing I don’t want to miss the opportunity given to me to recognize some important contributions this past year from my perspective:

  1. Patrick – for a difficult session. More divisive that what we anticipated.
  2. Sue and Roberta – For tireless meeting preparation. Lucky to have them.
  3. To Mark Doty and Terry Walters – for many years of service on our Executive Committee. Best wishes to them as they begin their retirements.

Glimpses of the challenges ahead in the upcoming session

I suppose every legislative session since I began this job in 2004 has been unique, but the 128th was what I call “historic.” Michele MacLean spearheaded our lobbying efforts with assistance from Bill Ferdinand, and Roberta Scruggs managed the membership advocacy outreach. The active participation of members on the Friday morning policy committee calls is rewarding with all the experience and insight that goes into our discussions, and it reaffirms staff confidence in representing the collective positions we determine. 

On several issues your response to alerts made the difference in the outcome of legislation; legislators want to hear from their constituents! The net result is a very good batting average, but don’t ask too many questions about the secret to our success as we rode the roller coaster. Our staff tracked 131 bills during the first session. 

Members of the Legislative Council, comprised of 10 leaders of the House and Senate, met Oct. 26 to consider 272 bills proposed for the second session, accepting only 63. The Council heard appeals on Nov. 30 from lawmakers whose bills were initially rejected and passed an additional 30, which will be added to 319 other bills that have been carried over, including 30 on our watch list, from this year’s Legislative session. (Read BDN story).  

Here are some of the areas of focus that I think will be challenging as we move forward:

TREE GROWTH TAX LAW: In 2016, Governor LePage summoned me to his office to discuss the tree growth taxation program. He understood that the program was important but he believed there were some participants that were not committed to forest management and they were undermining the program. The differential between ad valorem and tree growth land values is greatest on high value coastal properties and that region is the focus of the current debate. The challenge is understanding the magnitude of the problem and developing a solution that does not undermine the proven effectiveness of the program. We worked with the administration to identify an appropriate remedy, but the Taxation Committee elected to carry the original TG bill LD 1599 forward into this coming session. The Taxation Committee requested interested parties, including MFPC, Maine Woodland Owners, Maine Municipal Association, the ACF Department and Maine Forest Service, meet to discuss the issue, and the governor issued a proclamation encouraging municipalities to work with the MFS to monitor the program. We will continue the discussion and keep members notified this session.

CANADIAN BORDER: Alert!  Maine shares 61 percent (611 miles) of its border with Canada. The rest is shared with the ocean (23 percent) and New Hampshire (16 percent). Our membership is made up of U.S.  and Canadian firms, which emphasizes the importance of shared trade between these countries. While NAFTA and the Softwood Lumber agreement are negotiated in the coming year, the Council will keep our membership and policymakers informed on the process. Our recent publication on secondary manufacturing contains a variety of perspectives on these issues. At the state level, I anticipate the discussion will continue this session as we look at cross border relationships.

MARKETS FOR WOOD FUEL: The news stories about the “biomass bailout” are numerous, but despite the negative connotations the industry is appreciative of some time to develop a more comprehensive plan. The 2016 Wood Processor Report verifies the decline in harvest levels — from 15.2 million in 2015 to 13.2 million last year) — and biomass consumption.

The stand-alone biomass plants are diversifying to find partners to use their energy and thermal (steam) load which will diversify their income and increase overall efficiency ratings. A series of bills have been carried over with some proposed solutions requiring subsidies in the form of long-term power agreements or revised Renewable Portfolio Standards. Bonds to help finance long-term capital investments are also in the mix. I’m also concerned about the challenges facing sawmills, which have about 750,000 tons of wood chips and 300,000 tons of sawdust that need to find a home. This will lead to a discussion about building scaled combined heat and power facilities. We’re working to build a comprehensive plan for discussion. 

Biomass harvesting volume was 2.2 million tons in 2016, down from 2015 (3.0 million tons). Biomass energy facilities consumed 2.0 million tons in 2016, down 30 percent from 2015 (2.9 million tons). Eighty-five percent originated from Maine’s forests; 15 percent was imported. 

ROAD MAP GAINS FUNDING: Momentum is growing for the forest industry’s Road Map Project, including active committee participation by industry and government. Funding has been secured for phase one and we will be communicating more about this effort to everyone interested in the forest economy. Our focus will be to further define what Maine needs to do to attract capital investments.

The dramatic loss of markets in our industry requires active outreach and consideration of how we market Maine. As the industry and state search for manufacturers to consume tons of low grade softwood and  biomass, the Legislature is reviewing some of the business incentive programs (i.e. Pine Tree Development zones) that are important to attracting new capital investment in this state.

2018 ELECTIONS: Apparently the most popular job in Maine is that of Governor with more than a dozen candidates announcing their bids and others considering it. (See Ballotpedia list) The gubernatorial race is a chance for us to highlight our policy positions and discuss issues of importance. We are reaching out to candidates and will continue to seek ways for our membership to connect with policymakers. We’ll send out information on the January legislative reception as the date approaches, but in the meantime please make a connection with your legislators and take them out to your woods or into your mills.

After a dark decade, secondary wood manufacturing rebounds to contribute $1.8 billion to Maine’s economy

Colorful wooden eggs made by Wells Wood Turning in Buckfield have been featured at the White House Easter Egg roll since 2006.

Secondary wood manufacturing once played an enormous role in Maine’s rural economy, with mills in many towns across the state. Then from roughly 1998 to 2008, a flood of imports put many mills out of business. In 2003 alone about a dozen closed.  The survivors, however, learned lessons about how to survive in global markets and their industry is now growing again.

Secondary wood manufacturing, also known as value-added wood manufacturing, is generally defined as continued manufacturing beyond the production of lumber.

“Maine has the strongest secondary manufacturing of all the Northern New England states by far,” said Dave Redmond, director of Wood Products Initiatives at the Northern Forest Center. “Several wood products busi­nesses during the recession went out of business, but the remaining businesses were stronger and were able to pick up the pieces and move forward.”

At the request of the Maine Forest Products Council (MFPC), Dr. Mindy Crandall and doctoral candidate James Anderson III studied the economic impact of secondary wood manufacturing in Maine in 2014, comparing it to similar Michigan research, which was released in 2016.

They found the total impact was 8,884 jobs and $1.8 billion in 2014, about 20 percent of the forest products industry’s $10.2 billion 2014 impact. “Those jobs can make a big difference for specific communities,” Crandall said.

MFPC’s report, Secondary Wood Manufacturing in Maine: An ‘almost invisible’ $1.8 billion industry, includes Dr. Crandall’s findings, interviews with Maine’s secondary wood manufacturers and long-time industry observers, and a partial directory of wood processors throughout the state. The report, which also includes a partial directory of wood processors across the state, was presented at the Council’s 57th Annual Meeting at the Samoset Report in Rockland.

“Maine’s secondary wood processors are a great example of the ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit in our industry,” said MFPC Executive Director Patrick Strauch. “They are constantly researching and adapting their products to fit into the global markets. Despite the challenges in our industry, we are also finding opportunities.”

Slowing the movement of invasive plant pests in Maine

By Terry Bourgoin, state plant health director, and Gary Fish, state horticulturist

Asian longhorned beetle

You may have heard that invasive plant pests and diseases are primarily introduced through commercial trade and that’s true. But once they are here, these destructive plant pests don’t move far on their own; they are mostly spread by us. Through our everyday actions — hen we take firewood from home to our campsite, mail a gift of homegrown fruits or plants, or order plants, seeds or fruit online — we can contribute to the unintentional spread of any number of destructive plant pests. So when people wonder if their individual actions really matter, the answer is yes.

Damaging pests like the Asian longhorned beetle and emerald ash borer threaten the entire State of Maine. These pests can hide in firewood or on wood packaging material (crates, pallets, etc.) that accompanies products from other countries. Fortunately, these pests are not in our state and we need your help to keep it that way. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn more about these destructive plant pests and help us stop the spread of invasive species.

Emerald ash borer

It only takes one person to move something they shouldn’t. For instance, we know the emerald ash borer (EAB) beetle didn’t fly to New Hampshire on its own, it hitchhiked there. And now all of their urban, suburban and rural ash trees are at risk of attack by this devastating pest. And, the risks from EAB stretch well beyond New Hampshire borders, today EAB infestations are in 30 States.

Invasive plant pests and diseases are a threat in almost every state. If we allow them to enter and become established, these pests could devastate our neighborhoods and public green spaces, and cause damage to native species of plants, forests, watersheds, lakes, rivers and water delivery systems. As it stands today, damage from invasive plant pests costs our nation about $40 billion annually.

To protect our state, we are asking Mainers to join us in the battle against invasive plant pests and diseases. Give us a call to learn what you can do. During the month of October, which is Firewood Awareness Month, we urge you to learn more about ways you can help protect our forest resources and stop the spread of these harmful pests. More information.

How do I know if I’ve found an emerald ash borer?

How to identify an Asian longhorned beetle.

Contacts: Terry Bourgoin, State Plant Health Director, http://How do I know if I’ve found emerald ash borer?Maine Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service,

Gary Fish, State Horticulturist, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, 207-287-7545. 

SFI Maine crew tackles a big job: Building wishes

As Joe Rankin noted in his feature story for Forests for Maine’s Future, SFI Maine “has helped out on a lot of community projects over the past decade or so. They’ve provided materials to build Habitat for Humanity homes, provided materials for buildings at Pine Tree Camp for people with disabilities, built fish-friendly ice shacks to raise money to improve fish passage on small streams crossed by logging roads and built tables that help teach how to properly size culverts in the woods. But this year’s project was extra special.”

That’s because SFI Maine partnered with Make-A-Wish this summer to makes the wishes of two boys come true.

Derek and Kyan were thrilled with the Ninja Turle playset and tiny clubhouse that the SFI crew built and the boys’ enjoyment brought tears — happy ones! — to everyone’s eyes. There also was an added bonus because Kyan lives in Bridgton, close to major media outlets, so there was an outpouring of media attention (see below) which also brought attention to SFI’s efforts to maintain sustainable forests. 

“You guys are amazing over there in Maine! It warms my heart,” Kathy Absusow, SFI president and CEO emailed Pat Sirois after seeing Kyan’s cabin. “I would love it if you could send this note to all those on the Maine SIC that donated products and helped build this beautiful cabin. You are such a talented and caring crew! It was such a great initiative and it rivals 84 Lumbers Tiny Houses that they make and sell for well over $100,000+ I know this as I was just in 84, Pennsylvania last week, meeting with their procurement and sustainability team . . . and yet yours was all built by Maine SIC hands and with Maine SIC products and Maine SIC love! Bravo! You have an amazing team over there.”


SFI Make – A –Wish Projects Donations and Workers

Financial donations:  Weyerhaeuser, Sappi North America, Katahdin Forest Management, ReEnergy, Prentiss & Carlisle, Wagner Forest Management, LandVest.

Building material donations: Katahdin Log Homes, Irving Woodlands, Hancock Lumber, Seven Islands, Louisiana Pacific, Maine Tree Foundation, Huber Engineered Woods.

Other donations: Richard Wing & Son Logging; Mattress Firm, Augusta; Home Depot, Topsham;  Lisa Huff, Tykie Molloy, Joan Hudson, Belinda Gaudet

Workers: Kevin McCarthy and Nate Gould, Sappi North America; Tim Richards and Bill Kimble, ReEnergy; Jeremy Miller, Prentiss & Carlisle; Sean LeFey, Katahdin Log Homes; Scott Pease, Hancock Lumber; Dale Currier, Louisiana Pacific; Kevin Doran, Maine Forest Service; Tom Doak and Bill Williams, Maine Woodland Owners; Mike Dann, retired, Seven Islands; Dave Griswold, retired, Verso; Donald Denico, Bonny Eagle High School; Pat and Bethany Sirois, SFI; Sue McCarthy, Maine Forest Products Council.

Media coverage of Kyan’s and Derek’s wish.

(Wait 10 seconds and Times Record ad will disappear and story will appear.)

Use of bolter saws in conversion of short hardwood logs

Fred Huntress, a long-time board member and valued consultant on MFPC’s new report on Secondary Wood Manufacturing in Maine, recently passed along this interesting piece of history from his amazing and enormous library on our industry.

By Richard Pierce, Manager of Mngineering, Forster Manufacturing, Farmington, Maine Northeastern Logger, November 1952 

The bolter was conceived first by one Timothy Ricker of Harrison, Maine about the year 1850. From that humble beginning Ricker Bolters progressed in design through several Ricker heirs and other licenses producers. Earl Glover, developer of the so-called Glover Bolter,designed the single belt drive friction which is now commonly used by other manufacturers.

Without doubt,however, the efforts of four generations in the J.W. Penney & Sons Company of Mechanic Falls, Maine have pioneered more of the present efficient model than all others since Timothy Ricker. This Company, which was founded in 1872,began manufacturing bolters soon after their inception and have more units in use today than any other manufacturer.

Although there are several companies in the United States and Canada which market Short Log Bolter, the Penney Machine and the modern Ricker,produced by two or more companies,are the most popular and important types.

News Archive

Calendar of Events

128th Maine Legislature second session

When: Wed January 3 10:00 AM - Wed April 18 11:00 PM

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