Representatives from the New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association (NHTOA) and the Timber Harvesting Council (THC) took issues of concern for New Hampshire’s forest products industry to Washington, D.C., last week as they met with congressional representatives and natural resource agency officials.

Issues discussed with the staffs of Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Rep. Ann Kuster (D-N.H.), and Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) included concerns about the expansion of the Silvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge, recognition of biomass energy as carbon-neutral, the proposed Youth Careers in Logging legislation, and support for the Right to Haul Act.

The NHTOA/THC contingent also met with Allen Rowley, director of forests and range management for the U.S. Forest Service, to discuss issues connected with contracting with the Forest Service for logging and also the impacts of a declining Northeast market for wood pulp. In the office of Casey Hammond, interim supervisor of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the group talked about ways to redirect funding from additional federal land acquisition for the expansion of the Conte Refuge towards land conservation programs that will maintain working forest and traditional uses (e.g. hunting, snowmobiling, hiking, etc.).

“Bringing issues critical to New Hampshire’s forest products industry to the doorstep of our representatives in the nation’s capital emphasizes their importance to our leaders who can make a real difference in helping the industry,” said Steve Patten, NHTOA’s program director and member of the group that traveled to Washington. “We were able to make some real progress on some issues, and we heard a great deal of support for the industry. It was an informative, useful, and excellent trip.”

In the photo, from left: Mike Sharp, Ben Crowell, Shaun Lagueux, Jock Harvey (NELA – Vt.), Chris Goodnow, Errol Peters, Pat Sadler (NELA – N.Y.), Rocky Bunnel, Ron Rich (NELA – Mass.), Gabe Russo (NELA – Vt.). Not pictured: Steve Patten, NHTOA (he took the photo).