SALEM, Ore. – Jim Gahlsdorf of Gahlsdorf Logging Inc., in Rickreal is one of three Oregon loggers representing southwest, northwest and eastern Oregon that have been chosen as 2019 Operators of the Year. The Oregon Board of Forestry will honor the recipients at its March 4 meeting in Salem. The other two awardees are:
- Southwest Oregon – Pacific Forest Contractors, Inc., of Eagle Creek
- Eastern Oregon – Steve Jackson of Steve Jackson Logging based in Ridgefield, Wash.
The Board gives the Operator of the Year Awards to recognize those who, while harvesting timber or doing other forestry work, protect natural resources at a level that goes above and beyond requirements of the Oregon Forest Practices Act. That law requires people to manage forests responsibly and protect streams and water quality, protect and enhance habitat, and reduce landslide risks. The law also requires landowners to replant forests after harvesting. The awards honor operators who consistently meet or exceed Forest Practices Act regulations. Videos about each of the three Operators of the Year and the Merit Award winner C + C Logging can be viewed on the ODF website at https://www.oregon.gov/odf/Working/Pages/default.aspx
Private Forests Division Chief Kyle Abraham said, “These operators have shown an outstanding ability to harvest the wood products Oregon and the nation need while protecting natural resources. We’re pleased to honor the care and diligence they exercise to protect soil and water during harvest operations, often in challenging circumstances.”
Jim Gahlsdorf, owner of Gahlsdorf Logging Inc., based in Polk County earned the Northwest Oregon Operator of the Year award for minimizing soil disturbance by using an elaborate rigging system that lifted logs off the ground and over a high ridge to the yarder landing. The operation was in a steep, remote part of the Coast Range during fire season, which prompted the owner to take extra firefighting precautions.
Pacific Forest Contractors of Eagle Creek was recognized as Operator of the Year for Southwest Oregon. They successfully harvested a unit severely damaged by a late winter snowstorm in 2019. Heavy snow bent many of the trees in a hazardous, helter-skelter pattern. There was only a narrow window of time to harvest before summer fire restrictions would have curtailed logging. Crews also did an outstanding job of protecting trees bordering a salmon-bearing stream, lifting logs up and sending them via rigging across the stream over the tops of retained trees.
Steve Jackson earned the Eastern Oregon Operator of the Year award for a careful harvest along a scenic roadway in Hood River County leading to popular hiking trails. Jackson protected multiple pockets of young trees, jump starting natural regeneration on the steep slopes. He was able to fell trees near an upper fork of the Hood River without harming trees in the protective buffer. And at the request of the U.S. Forest Service he also removed hazardous, non-merchantable trees along the roadside to improve public safety. The award also recognizes Jackson for decades of consistently applying best management practices to safeguard forest resources, even under challenging circumstances.
The Northwest Oregon Regional Forest Practices Committee also issued a Merit Award to C and C Logging for the firm’s safety consciousness and innovative use of technology, including using a drone to carry line into areas of fallen timber.
Regional Forest Practices committees select the operators of the year and merit award recipients from among nominees sent in by landowners, ODF staff and others.
In addition to the honors at the March Board meeting, special recognition is also provided at the Associated Oregon Loggers training and education event in January and the Oregon Logging Conference in February.
Oregon enacted the Forest Practices Act in 1971 as a national model for forest management laws. The law focuses on ensuring responsible forest operations and protecting natural resources in forestland. The Act has been updated many times based on new scientific information and values to create a balanced approach to natural resource management.
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