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Are drones a viable option for forest managers?

A drone photo of Cranberry Cove on Richardson Lake.

By Walker Day, chair, Technical Committee

A meeting was held on April 25 at the Maine Forests Products Council headquarters to discuss small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) rules and regulations. Attendance included representatives from many large landowners, mills, political entities, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Presentations from Seven Islands Land Company (SILC) personnel highlighted the potential use of sUAS technology for forest management, and the struggles that SILC has encountered thus far.

Arthur Hinaman, FAA Manager, Technical Support Branch, was very helpful and we were fortunate to have him in attendance via conference call from Washington D.C. He answered many questions about certain rules, particularly the beyond visual line of sight rule, which is the biggest obstacle for forest managers at this time. After hearing what Mr. Hinaman had to say, it was agreed that obtaining a waiver at this time may not be the best option for forest managers.

The Technical Committee was formed at the end of the meeting and will reach out to other entities such as the U.S. Forest Service to see what they are doing to combat some of the issues SILC has run into. The committee will also explore new sUAS technology as it is released to see if it is a viable option for forest managers.

The main purpose of the committee is to find a practical solution for sUAS operations in Maine’s forests. Anyone interested in joining the Technical Committee is encouraged to contact Walker Day at wday@sevenislands.com.

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Maine Forest Products Week

Celebrate Maine Forest Products Week! Congress designated the third week of October (October 18-24, 2020) as National Forest Products Week (NFPW) to recognize the value of forest products and commit to conservation practices that help responsibly manage U.S. forests. This week celebrates the role and impact of forests and wood as an integral component to our nation's society. The week provides an opportunity to focus public attention on Maine’s forests and forest products industry and celebrate their importance to our state. Members of the industry, led by the Maine Forest Products Council, are planning a series of activities designed to engage and educate the public and the media.

When: Sun October 18 8:00 AM - Sat October 24 11:00 PM

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When: Thu November 12 1:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Where: MFPC Office, 535 Civic Center Drive, Augusta Maine
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