Wood chips for Europe plus great annual meeting ahead

Patrick sigWhile vacationing this month, I spent some time in Eastport and noticed that beyond the view of breaching whales in the harbor, there is a new high profile wood chip dumper overlooking the cargo port. Fresh pavement had been laid and conveying systems stand at the ready to load ships. E.J. Carrier, an MFPC member, will soon start shipping low grade wood fuel through the facility to Europe (see article). This has been an amazing investment and creates opportunities to ship fiber to other parts of the world.

I’ve also been traveling around northern and western Maine, interviewing award nominees and checking in on members. It’s clear to me that the demand for wood within Maine is also growing – despite some announcements of mill shutdowns. The free market system can be confusing to the general public as they try to assess the health of our industry. I’ll be working with Roberta Scruggs, our communications director, and with members over the next month to write about this unique situation in Maine. We’ll be trying to describe Maine’s problems from the perspective of a rebounding forest industry in the midst of some mill closures. Stay tuned…

The Wildlife Committee is watching over efforts to list the long-eared bat as an endangered species. We’re cautious about the propensity for regulators to enforce habitat restrictions when the 90 percent population loss is due to a pathogen introduced from Europe. Likewise, the state Wildlife Action Plan process is under way and we’ll monitor the activity to ensure a practical approach to wildlife management.

This is also the time of year when we are nervous about the annual meeting sign-ups. We have worked hard to prepare a meaningful agenda (see below) as well as create a good crowd of members to honor our award winners. The council is our community of professionals and it’s important to reflect on our successes and honor our colleagues. Please join us! Click here for more detailed information or a registration form or contact Sue McCarthy, office manager, 207-622-9288. We are also looking for a few more sponsors for the annual meeting

Monday’s program begins with a tour of the Pleasant River mill in Hancock. And then everyone regroups in Bar Harbor for the business meeting and election of officers.  Paul Janke will start our session of programming with a discussion of global wood market conditions and projections. You won’t want to miss the update on the Spruce Budworm Action plan initiated at the last annual meeting. Consider inviting some potential members since it is a great opportunity to network and meet people from all aspects of the industry.

I’m also doing the circuit of political fundraisers, interfacing with politicians and policy makers. Make a contribution to our Forest Legacy PAC and I’ll include you in the latest updates and opportunities for networking with potential leaders.  At this point we are halfway to our intended goal of raising $20,000 and need your help. If you would have questions or would like to learn about our strategy, please phone (207-622-9288) or email me for more information. You can mail a check to Maine Forest Legacy PAC, 535 Civic Center Dr., Augusta ME 04330.


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