A new economic impact study, great presentations on the outlook for wood and pulp and paper markets and a great slate of award winners all contributed to an outstanding annual meeting Sept. 19-20 in at the Sugarloaf Hotel in Carrabasset Valley.
Our annual membership meeting started with a barbecue on Sunday, Sept. 9, which was delicious, fun and allowed members to catch up with friends and colleagues.
At the morning business meeting Sept. 20, outgoing President Gordon Gamble of Wagner handed over his gavel to new MFPC Board President Ryan McAvoy of SAPPO, who welcomed back Peter Triandafillou as secretary and John Gray as treasurer.
Executive Director Patrick Strauch filled members in on a lot of activity, including new economic research — Statewide Economic Contribution of Maine’s Forest Products Sector — about Maine’s forest products industry by Megan Bailey and Sheldon Green of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center. Despite some challenging years, Maine’s forest products industry contributed an estimated $8.1 billion to the economy — about $1 out of every $25 in Maine gross state product is associated with the forest products industry. The industry also contributed 31,822 jobs in 2019, so roughly 1 out of 25 jobs in Maine is associated with the forest products sector.
“This research shows that Maine is still a great place for a forest industry,” Strauch said. “The global economy is evolving rapidly and there are clearly many challenges ahead, but the forest products industry is reinventing itself to meet them.”
Monday evening, the annual banquet included tour de force by Jimmy Robbins and Peter Triandafilous, who not only made the auction a huge success, but kept his audience laughing as they opened their wallets and checkbooks.
The MFPC annual meeting focused on the issues and outlook for Maine’s forest economy. (Click here to watch videos of all speakers’ presentations or download a pdf of their PowerPoints below.)
- Robert Wagner, Is the Science of Forest Vegetation Management Dead?
- Ivan Fernandez, Forest Carbon Recommendations
- Rocky Goodnow, Forest Economic Advisors, Outlook for Wood Markets
- Sage Duguay, Fisher International, Pulp and Paper Industry Outlook
- Jeff Hatcher, managing director, Indufor North America, and Brianna Bowman, FOR:Maine program director, Update on Forest Economy Roadmap
MFPC also announced its awards for “the best of 2021,” including:
Albert Nutting Award: Peter Triandafillou, Huber Resources, for his leadership, integrity, and long-term commitment to sustainable forest management. Read more.
Abby Holman Public Service Award: Albro Cowperthwaite for blending forestry and outdoor recreation with a minimum of user conflicts. Read more.
President’s Award: John Gray, MFPC treasurer, for dedication in supporting and enhancing the mission of the Maine Forest Products Council. Read more.
Outstanding Forester: District Forester Dan Jacobs for his skills, knowledge, and willingness to help others. Read more.
Outstanding Environmental Managers: Ken Gallant, Pixelle, and Tom Griffin, SAPPI, for dedication to protecting Maine’s environment. Read more.
All in all, the 61st annual meeting is likely to be best remembered for its focus on the future of our industry and the fun everyone had getting together in person, rather than online.
The Maine Forest Products Council commissioned an economic impact study — Statewide Economic Contribution of Maine’s Forest Products Sector — that was recently completed by Megan Bailey, research associate for the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center.
“Despite the challenges of past few years, the Maine forest products industry still has an enormous impact on our state’s economy, especially in rural communities,” said MFPC Executive Director Patrick Strauch.
HIGHLIGHTS OF MAIN FINDINGS
● The estimated overall annual (2019) economic contribution of Maine’s forest products sector, including multiplier effects, was an estimated $8.1 billion in output, over 31,000 jobs, and $1.7 billion in labor income (Table 2).
● The total employment impact of 31,822 jobs in 2019 is equivalent to about 4 percent of the jobs in Maine. Put another way, roughly 1 out of 25 jobs in Maine is associated with the forest products sector.
● The total economic contribution of Maine’s forest products sector in 2019 was associated with an estimated fiscal impact of $276 million in state and local taxes. This tax impact is equivalent to 3.4 percent of the forest product sector’s total (output) economic contribution.
● Maine’s forest products sector had a total, including multiplier effects, value-added impact of an estimated $2.8 billion. This is equivalent to 4.14 percent of the state’s gross domestic product in 2019. Put another way, about $1 out of every $25 in Maine gross state product is associated with the forest products industry.
● The Maine forest products sector impacts businesses across the entire state through the activities of forest products companies (organizations and individuals) and the purchases that they (and their employees) make. The total employment impact varies from an estimated 121 jobs in Sagadahoc County to 5,225 jobs in Aroostook County (see Table 4).
● The forest products sector in Maine impacts businesses of all types through the purchases made by forest product sector companies (organizations and individuals) and their employees. For example, the 19,604 full- and part-time jobs counted in the forest product industry’s multiplier effects includes 644 jobs in real estate, 589 jobs in full-service restaurants, and 552 jobs in hospitals.
In recognition of his extraordinary dedication in supporting and enhancing the mission of the Maine Forest Products Council. A board member since 2004, he became treasurer in 2010. He has been an excellent custodian of the MFPC’s finances, providing solid information and sound counsel to support decision-making. Our members greatly appreciates his service
The President’s Award is a recognition reserved to the president of the Maine Forest Products Council. Outgoing President Gordon Gamble chose to award it to John Gray, who has served the Council in many roles since 1976, including as the current treasure.
“John is so deserving of this award,” Gamble said after he presented the award Sept. 20, 2021. “He epitomizes what is so great about the Council, a membership of dedicated good people willing to do the hard work to see the forest industry succeed. His 45 yrs. (and counting!) of working in the trenches, whether it be providing reasoned testimony or serving on yet another TGTL study group, has been critically important to our industry. As our treasurer over the past 10 years, he has helped guide us to strong financial footing and a mortgage free building. I was so pleased to see John get the recognition he so richly deserves from the membership at the annual meeting.
John graduated from Boston University with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and put his skills to worked for at Chadbourne Tree Farms LLC for 33 1/2 years, retiring in 2009.
He went to his first MFPC Board meeting around 1976 or 1977, when Joe Lupsha was executive director; Rand Stowell, president, and Richard Pierce, treasurer. He also worked with executive directors Bob Chaffee, Ted Johnston, Abby Holman and Patrick Strauch.
He has represented MFPC in the Legislature, at hearings and on a variety of legislative committee, including several studying the Tree Growth Tax Law, the Forest Fire Tax Study, Liquidation Harvesting and others.
He has served on the Board of Directors since about 2003 and the Executive Committee since about 2004. He has been MFPC treasurer since 2010.
In recognition of a distinguished careers dedicated to protecting Maine’s environment and leadership in advocating for a reasonable Pulp & Paper industry regulatory framework. An outstanding environmental manager must have integrity, credibility and honesty within our industry, but perhaps more importantly with those who regulate our industry, including governors, senators, congressional representatives, legislators and regulators. Our industry has benefitted immensely from their intellect, dedication and work ethic.
“Very recently — and almost back-to-back — we had two members of our group of environmental managers elect to retire,” said Scott Beal, environmental and security manager at Woodland Pulp. “Together, Tom Griffin of SAPPI and Ken Gallant of Pixelle had more than 80 years of experience and dedication to our industry and to environmental compliance and protection.”
These gentlemen have been “work horses” for our industry, Beal said. They could always be counted on to contribute their experience, intellect and common sense to working with those who regulate our industry in the development of regulations that are science based and practical.
“As complicated and aggressive as Maine’s environmental regulatory climate is, I shudder to contemplate what it would be today without their collective and sustained efforts over the years to promote good policy and to protect Maine’s environment,” Beal added.
“With the news of two their well-deserved retirements, MFPC would not let these gentlemen “go quietly.”
“It is my privilege to present the Council’s first awards for outstanding environmental managers to Ken Gallant and Tom Griffen,” Beal said.
Patty Cormier, Maine Forest Service director, took great pleasure in presenting District Forester Dan Jacobs with the MFPC 2021 Outstanding Forester award Sept. 20. Jacobs has served as District Forester with the MFS for 21 years in Island Falls.
Through many changes within the forest industry, Dan has positively impacted the people of our state as well as Maine’s forests with his skills, knowledge, and willingness to help others. His dedication to pro-active education and outreach on sustainable forest practices has earned the respect of landowners, loggers, and foresters.
“In addition to performing his job at an exemplary level, Dan demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to the forestry community as well as to the public,” Cormier told MFPC members at their 61st Annual Meeting Sept. 20. “Dan takes it upon himself to provide exceptional support and service to an impressive variety and number of landowners, loggers, forestry organizations and the general public.” (See video below as Dan Jacobs discusses the updated version of the popular publication “The Woods in Your Backyard,” including the content of the guide, the uses, and how woodland owners can get a copy.)
Jacobs covers the southern portion of Aroostook County and a few towns in northern Penobscot County as well. Before working for the Maine Forest Service, Dan was a forester for International Paper Company, based in Clayton Lake. He has also worked as a forester for the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians. His forestry education includes an M.S. from Penn State, a B.S. from Utah State, and an Associate of Science degree from Unity College. He chaired the committee that prepared the MFS Forest Policy and Management Division book, “The Forestry Rules of Maine.”
“The Maine Forest Products Council honored Dan Jacobs as the Outstanding Forester of 2021 because of his exceptional ability to communicate with a wide variety of people in the forest economy, including landowners, loggers, forestry organizations, and the general public. He listens to what people need and helps them achieve it,” said Maine Forest Products Council Executive Director Patrick Strauch.
Dan has worked with the State Implementation Committee of the Maine Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) State Implementation Committee to develop and host dozens of Best Management Practice (BMP) workshops. He was on the planning committee for the Project Learning Tree teacher tours and is a Maine Woodland Owners newsletter author. Dan is very active in the planning and managing of the Bird Farm maple sugar operation and is involved with the Region Two School of Applied Technology programs, the Southern Aroostook Soil and Water Conservation District, the Envirothon and SAD 29 educational programs.
“I worked with Dan for 21 years and have always been impressed with his candid approach, his initiative and passion with promoting the wise use of our forests,” Cormier said. “He truly has had a statewide impact with respect to forestry in Maine, whether it be educating landowners, loggers and other foresters on safety, regulations, general forest management, or with every age group of students learning about forestry as a career.
“Through many changes the with the forest industry, Dan has made a difference, and has positively impacted the people of our state and those associated with the forest industry. His skills, knowledge, willingness to help others, and dedication make him perfect for the 2021 Maine Forest Products Council Outstanding Forester Award. Congratulations Dan!”
The criterion for this award is simple. The recipients must demonstrate a level of passion, loyalty, and dedication to Maine’s forest products industry, to good government, and a robust economy much the same way that our former Executive Director and friend Abigail “Abby” Holman did.
As the director of North Maine Woods for nearly 40 years, he has been a steady advocate for forest landowners, sportsmen, and sportswomen, guides, state agencies and other land users. While many people talk about multiple use forest management, he has put it into practice, successfully blending forestry and outdoor recreation with a minimum of user conflicts.
Abby’s love of Maine and our natural resources showed in her work. And it was here that Abby built a reputation as a fierce defender of our traditional natural resource industries.
“While ‘fierce’ is not the right adjective to describe Albro Cowperthwaite, committed, long-term and persistent certainly fit the bill,” said Barry Burgason, who presented the award.
Al worked at a single job his entire career and that was as director of North Maine Woods Incorporated which is charged with managing public use of, now, over 3.5 million acres of private and public lands in northern Maine largely managed for forest products. He has been the primary implementer of John Sinclair’s plan to allow public recreational use of Maine’s forests and at the same time, deal with some of the abuses that can result from uncontrolled use.
Structured as a not-for-profit corporation, Al always focused on reducing the cost of operating the network of check points and campsites and still creating a safe enjoyable environment for the people that both worked and recreated within the system. In later years, Al began implementing cost saving technology such as remotely operated control points, computerized visitor registration, solar panels to reduce generator use, satellite communications and credit card payments. The remote-controlled checkpoints replaced lightly used entrances to the system thus saving labor and building maintenance costs.
However, Al was insistent that checkpoint attendants were the “Walmart greeters” that helped orient and educate visitors, many of them who have never traveled on gravel roads into remote areas without the signs and convenience stores many are used to. People will always be needed.
“I’ve been told the North Maine Woods could make a tremendous amount of money leasing acreage to sportsmen to have exclusive hunting rights. I was told I could make a lot of money doing that,” Cowperthwaite recently told Deidre Fleming, outdoors writer for the Press Herald. “That was 20 years ago. I said, ‘Yeah, we could make money – but that’s not for Maine.’”
Al was always reluctant to raise user fees both because he and his employees were the ones who took the brunt of the criticism and because he had compassion for the hunters, anglers, canoeists and campers who came to enjoy what northern Maine has to offer. Many of these people are the working people living in towns throughout Maine. In the end, Al would always say to his administrative committee of landowners, “I work for you and will do what you say.”
Al is a very organized person. At meetings, he always presented a complete agenda along with all the necessary supporting details including spreadsheets and correspondence with both the complaints and the accolades. He dealt directly with the miscreants that vandalized campsites or property, rutted roads, drove unsafely or were disrespectful of other users. The usual solution was a letter stating that they were no longer welcome in NMW.
Those who worked with Al knew him to be a very humble person. Sarah Medina and I worked with Al many years producing our annual NMW magazine. Al would often interview contractors, camp owners, guides and foresters and write an article for the publication but he never wanted to list his name as the author. Again, to save costs and avoid fee increases, Al would often recommend raises for his staff, but decline a raise for himself.
As we all know, natural resource management in Maine can get messy –politically speaking. In 1991, Al worked with landowners, land user groups and state agencies to found the Sportsmen\Forest Landowner Alliance. The purpose of the organization was to get together three or four times a year and discuss issues and friction points before they became debated in front of the legislative committees. Of all the people involved, Al saw the long-term value in this approach.
A good example of Al’s collaborative approach was the system NMW developed to address conflicts between bear hunting guides and landowners where guides would pay fees and register their hunting sites with NMW who would coordinate landowner activities that might interrupt hunting activities. The system was so successful that it spread to many forest landowners outside of the NMW system.
“While many people talk about multiple use forest management, Al has put it into practice,” Burgason said.
In recognition of his leadership, integrity, intellect, and long-term commitment to sustainable forest management. We honor his efforts to champion both Maine’s working forests and the community of forestry professionals.
At the Maine Forest Products Council’s 61st annual meeting Sept. 20, Peter Triandafillou, who recently retired as vice president of woodlands at Huber Resources, received MFPC’s most prestigious award, the Albert D. Nutting Award.
The award has been presented annually since 1990 to a remarkable group of individuals (see below), each of them truly unique, but with a common commitment to Maine and it’s forest industry. The Nutting award was created in 1990 to honor Al Nutting, the former director of the School of Forestry at the University of Maine, Maine Commissioner of Forestry and one of the founders of the Maine Forest Products Council.
The winner must “have demonstrated recognized qualities of leadership and integrity, as well as a commitment to the values both public and private, generated from the working forest. His or her experience will reflect concern for the sound environmental use as well as the economic value of the forest to industry and the community at large.”
“It’s a great honor for me tonight,” said Jim Robbins Sr., “to be able to present the Albert Nutting award to Peter Triandafillou.”
Opinion section.by Sean Wallace, the managing director of Sappi North America’s Somerset Mill. Patrick Carleton is the president of USW Local 4-9 at the Sappi Somerset Mill. Mike Haws, president and CEO of Sappi North America, and Mike Schultz, vice president of manufacturing for Sappi North America, also contributed to this column.
Over the past several months, as part of Brookfield’s Shawmut Dam relicensing process, the DEP and the Maine Department of Marine Resources have made clear that they want the dam to be removed in order to maximize the ability of Atlantic salmon to pass the dam site. According to these agencies, installation of fish passage facilities at the dams will not be sufficient for fish to pass upstream.
Last month, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission disagreed and issued a draft environmental assessment concluding that dam removal is not necessary, and that reasonable fish passage could be designed to provide adequate fish passage.
Nonetheless, last week, the DEP ignored the concerns of Sappi and other stakeholders and issued a draft order proposing to deny water quality certification for the relicensing process on the basis that fish passage would only be 96 percent effective rather than 99 percent effective. If this order is issued in final form (the deadline for the final order is Aug. 27), decommissioning and removal of the Shawmut Dam are the most likely outcomes.
Water is a critical resource in Somerset’s operations. Removing the dam will drop the river water level 15 to 20 feet, to a depth of four to six feet, rendering the mill’s water intake and wastewater discharge systems inoperable. Sappi does not believe that any technical option will work with a river level of only four to six feet.
In short, the removal of the Shawmut Dam could shut the Somerset Mill. This would have potentially devastating economic effects on Sappi, its employees, and its suppliers, and thus a similarly devastating impact on the surrounding communities whose economies rely to a large extent on the Somerset Mill. The Sappi Somerset Mill directly employs roughly 735 people from many of the surrounding communities, contributing millions of dollars to the local economy.
Thus, the negative economic impacts of dam removal greatly outweigh any potential environmental or economic benefit that might be achieved by removal of the Shawmut Dam. The benefits being sought can be achieved through installation of fish passage facilities, without causing the economic harm that would be caused by dam removal.
We urge the Maine DEP to reconsider its position and issue water quality certification for the Shawmut Dam project. The agency may believe that, somehow, it can achieve dam removal and protect Sappi’s operations. We know better, and do not believe that our mill is worth that risk.