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CONCORD, N.H. — A strong bipartisan effort to pass H.B. 2936, the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017, was applauded today by the New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association. The bill, which has already passed the House of Representatives and now moves on to the Senate, would expedite and improve forest management activities in federal forests. The NHTOA is dedicated to promoting sustainable forest management on both public and private land.
Jasen Stock, NHTOA’s executive director, especially singled out Rep. Annie Kuster (D-N.H.) and her staff for their work to gain passage of the bill, which was introduced in June by Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ariz.). “Over many years, Congresswoman Kuster has been unflinching in her support of forest management, and her support across the aisle for H.B. 2936 demonstrates yet again that she puts the health of our forests above partisan politics,” he said.
In a statement he made in early October as the House Agriculture Committee began to review the proposed legislation, Rep. Westerman said: “This legislation is an important step in expediting forest management activities in the National Forest System to promote healthy, resilient forests and prevent catastrophic wildfires… We are committed to further providing the Forest Service the tools it needs to carry out its mission. I was proud of the bipartisan support this committee showed last Congress during our committee mark-up.”
While the bill singles out wildfires in National Forests as a particular concern, Stock notes that wildfire control, especially in severe years such as 2017, heavily impacts the overall Forest Service budget, with consequences felt in New England National Forests.
“We are very pleased that this bill has a good chance of success in Congress and becoming law,” Stock commented. “Thanks to the hard bipartisan work of Congresswoman Kuster and her colleagues on the Agriculture Committee, we hope to see an end to the perennial raiding of eastern National Forest budgets to cover western National Forest catastrophic fire expenses.”
More than two dozen timberland owners, loggers, foresters, and others in the New Hampshire forest products industry gathered on Jon Martin’s beautiful woodlot in Bridgewater, N.H., to learn about using tractors and other equipment in woodlot management. The “Farm Tractors in Forestry” landowner class, held on Saturday, Oct. 28, also featured a demonstration of proper tree-felling technique using the open-notch method, as well as a demonstration of a portable sawmill.
The landowner class, one of a series of such classes the New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association (NHTOA) presents over the year, is designed to educate and inform timberland owners and others about the advantages of managing woodlots and how best to conduct such management. In addition to Jon Martin, a local forester, Saturday’s instructors included Stephen Snow and NHTOA Program Director Steve Gaines. Grafton County extension forester Jim Frohn was also on hand to answer questions about developing forest management plans.
By the end of the four-hour class, attendees went home with a truckload of practical knowledge and useful tips, including the proper personal protective equipment to wear in the woods, how to properly de-limb a felled tree with a chainsaw, how to properly winch logs out of the forest, how to choose which trees to fell to improve a timber stand, and how to properly outfit a farm tractor for work in the woods. Year in and year out, the Farm Tractors in Forestry landowner class is one of the most popular public education events presented by the NHTOA. Watch the NHTOA website or Facebook page for announcements about upcoming classes.
Four days after last Sunday's heavy rainfall and subsequent extensive damage to New Hampshire's infrastructure, the condition of state-maintained roadways, including Interstates 93 and 89 and state highways throughout New Hampshire, is improving. Most are now passable, including for log trucks. Check www.newengland511.org frequently for up-to-date state road conditions, as ongoing repairs on several roads are changing passability.
Dozens of local roads in townships, however, are still a mess, and may not be repaired for weeks or even months. The photo accompanying this notice shows Streeter Woods Road in Dorchester, NH; similar conditions can be found on local roads throughout the state. Check with local road agents for conditions, including the condition of local bridges, and be prepared to take detours -- in some cases, long detours.
Stay safe out there!
As part of its 25th anniversary celebration, the New Hampshire Timber Harvesting Council (THC) honored past THC chairmen who helped guide the organization to its present status as one of the premier logger certification groups in the U.S. The past chairman were introduced and acknowledged at the 25th Annual Loggers & Truckers Convention on October 21, 2017, in Lebanon, N.H.
Each former chairman was given a specially engraved hatchet bearing the words, “New Hampshire Timber Harvesting Council Celebrating 25 years, 1992-2017.”
Past chairmen who attended this year’s Loggers & Truckers Convention included: Fred Weld of Fred C. Weld Logging, Cornish, N.H.; Malcolm Washburn of WeLog, Stratford, N.H.; Dan Keniston of North Woodstock, N.H.; Roger Garland Sr. of Garland Lumber Co., North Conway, N.H.; Rocky Bunnell, Rocky Bunnell Logging, Monroe, N.H.; Errol Peters, Peters Logging, Landaff, N.H.; Dick Lewis, Chester Forest Products, Chester, N.H.; Scott Qualls, independent trucker, Berlin, N.H.; Spencer Laramie, Laramie Logging, Canaan, N.H.; and Jeff Eames, Fort Mountain Companies, Allenstown, N.H.
The THC is sponsored by the New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association (NHTOA), the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, and the UNH Thompson School of Applied Sciences’ Forest Technology Program. THC works to provide training, to improve the public's perception of logging, to recognize their peers, and to improve awareness and compliance with timber harvesting laws. Among the most important of the THC’s activities is sponsorship, with the NHTOA, of the Professional Loggers Program (PLP), a voluntary certification program for New Hampshire’s loggers. The program teaches basic silviculture, wildlife management, and improving forestland aesthetics. The PLP also teaches forest professionals about laws and regulations governing forestry work. Every PLP participant receives instruction in basic first aid, CPR, AED, and techniques for operating forestry tools safely and productively.
The Loggers & Truckers Convention, held each October, is the THC’s annual gathering. The 26th Annual Loggers & Truckers Convention will be held on Oct. 6, 2018, at the Grappone Center in Concord, N.H.