MFPC members tell legislators about the ‘big upturn’ in forest products
Any legislator whose picture of Maine’s forest products hadn’t been updated since the Madison mill closed in May 2016 got a pleasant surprise at the Council’s Legislative Breakfast Jan. 29. In the past few years, Executive Director Patrick Strauch told them, roughly $600 million in capital investments have been made or announced in Maine’s forest products industry.
“We really feel like we’re at the beginning of a big upturn in the opportunities for the industry,” Strauch said. “We need to make sure we’ve got good, trained workers, but it’s an exciting time and we’re part of the new, green forest economy. Legislators are going to be important in helping us as we put together the strategy in the FOR/Maine master plan.” Read more.
ACF nominee and MFPC Board
find common ground
When she met with the MFPC Board Jan. 29, Amanda Beal, nominee for commissioner of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (ACF), acknowledged right from the start that her expertise is not in forestry, but in agriculture.
“I haven’t spent a lot of time in forestry. I definitely have a lot to learn there,” said Beal, who lives in Warren. “But what I come to this with is just a really genuine feeling and understanding and belief that our natural industry in Maine is the backbone of our economy and our culture and are incredibly important. And I think over the long time span, they are going to be the most enduring.”
“She went right to the fact that fishing, farming and forestry have been and will be ad infinitum the basis of a lot of the economics and character of the state of Maine,” Board member John Cashwell said. “They’re important issues. I think she’s ready to learn about the working forest. I didn’t hear anything in the conversation at the meeting that threw up flags.” Read more.
Maine forest rangers
By Kent Nelson, Forest Ranger Specialist
Living in a “fire camp” is not very glamorous. It involves sleeping in a tent with up to 1,200 other firefighters nearby, limited showers and catered meals, 12- to 16- hour work days and no days off. The payoff comes when Maine’s forest rangers gain vital experience in managing large wildfires, which benefits both the Maine Forest Service (MFS) and Maine’s forest landowners. During the fire season of 2018, Maine’s forest rangers dealt with 557 fires that burned 681 acres in Maine. They also made time for 26 separate mobilizations for out-of-state fire duty. On the financial side, national fire mobilizations also save the state thousands of dollars in salaries. When forest rangers are mobilized their salary and benefits are 100 percent reimbursed by the incident. “The qualifications and effectiveness of the Maine Forest Service today, concerning wildland fire management, as compared to that before we mobilized forest rangers nationally, has improved exponentially,” Chief Forest Ranger Bill Hamilton said.” The experience they gain is irreplaceable.” Read more.
Don’t get left behind as industry recovers —
sign up for CLP training!
By Mike St. Peter, CLP Program Director
It has been several decades since we had such a feeling of optimism in our industry as a backdrop to the Certified Logging Professional (CLP) training program. Earlier this week, the Maine Forest Products Council hosted a legislative breakfast in Augusta where all the industry sectors spoke regarding recent trends. It was heartening to hear that nearly every paper mill in the state is investing millions in its facilities to diversify products lines and increase consumption of pulpwood. Sawmills, after a lull in production for decades are making investments that will result in production targets that challenge all-time highs.
It’s in this environment that we are rolling out this year’s schedule for CLP initial training and recertification sessions. As consumption by mills grows, there will be greater need for logging capacity than we’ve seen in decades. That logging capacity can only grow with additional logging personnel who are trained in efficient and environmentally sensitive practices and possess an ethic of safety for themselves and the other people with whom they work. Click the links for spring 2019 schedules and registration forms: Mechanical & Conventional Certification Class and Recertification. More information.
Maine’s Public Estate and Conservation Lands: Brief History and Assessment
The current issue of the Maine Policy Review has an overview by Lloyd Irland on conserved lands. Here’s the abstract: “Few people know that 21 percent of Maine’s land area is now in conservation status and that most of this transfer occurred in the last three decades. Perhaps this information is not widely known because it is not easy to learn the facts about Maine’s public and conservation lands.1 To make this information easier to find, in this article I will review the history of Maine’s public lands, the forces that generated the recent upsurge in conserved land, and some issues we must consider for the future, such as management of public lands, the Land for Maine’s Future Board, and the new (2016) Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument (KWW).” Read article.
- February 11, 2019: Emerald Ash Borer and Gypsy Moth Quarantine Rule Public Hearing, , 6:30 p.m., Department of Agriculture Conservation and Forestry Office, 45 Radar Rd, Ashland.
- February 13, 2019: Emerald Ash Borer Quarantine Rule Public Hearing, 6:30 p.m., University of Maine Cooperative Extension Office, 15 Oak St., Springvale.
- February 21 and 22: The Aroostook Partnership, Northern Maine’s public-private partnership focused on economic and
workforce development, is coordinating a legislative bus tour of the County’s forest products sector, including a great selection of industry stops and an opportunity to interact with mill owners, operators, managers and key University of Maine Forest Products. More information.
- February 27, 2019: What’s Bugging Our Forest: Insects and Diseases to Watch For, 5-7 p.m., Ellsworth City Hall 2nd Floor Conference Room. Maine’s important forest resources are challenged by a variety of pests from native insects to invasive diseases and plants. Join the Downeast Chapter of Maine Woodland Owners and learn about the species that threaten our forests and urban environments, and what you can do to help. Speaker: Allison Kanoti, Maine State Entomologist.
- March 18-19: New England Regional Council on Forest Engineering, Wells Conference Center, University of Maine. Topics include range from “Beech & Other Forest Management Challenges” to “Markets & Forest Roads.” Agenda. More information.
- June 10-14, 2019, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the Maine Chapter of the Wildlife Society will host the 53rd North American Moose Conference and Workshop at the Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel and Conference Center. It is at this annual conference that wild life biologists share ideas and information to best manage moose the most iconic animal of the North Woods! Lee Kantar, IFW’s moose biologists, is seeking sponsors “to help Maine provide a highly educational and memorable conference in 2019.” More information.
- July 2019: Forests of Maine Teachers’ Tours — Tell a teacher! July 9 – 12 – Libby Camps—Northern Maine; July 23 – 26 – Grant’s Kennebago Camps—Rangeley Lakes Region. More information. Contact the Maine TREE Foundation and Maine Project Learning Tree, 207-621-9872 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since 1961, the Maine Forest Products Council has been the voice of Maine’s forest economy. MFPC’s members are landowners, loggers, truckers, paper mills, tree farmers, foresters, lumber processors and the owners of more than 8 million acres of commercial forestland, but they are also bankers, lawyers and insurance executives. The Council represents members at the Maine Legislature and across the state, in Washington D.C. and across the U.S
Patrick Strauch, Executive Director;
Pat Sirois, SFI Coordinator
Sue McCarthy, Office Manager