FORESTS IN THIS ISSUE
Timber Titan Dean Lewis Celebrates a Long Life in Hardwoods Logger Gathan Burns Keeps the Wood Flowing U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer Practices What He Preaches Spotlight on National Land Realty
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Alabama Forestry Association, Inc. Chris Isaacson, Executive Vice President OFFICERS Chairman ............................................Ben Smith, Phenix City President .................................................Gray Skipper, Fulton President-Elect ....................Vaughn Stough, Mountain Brook Secretary .................................Stephan Tomlinson,Tuscumbia Treasurer .............................................Tom Bradley III, Mobile DISTRICT DIRECTORS Black Belt District..............................Doug Bowling, Millbrook Capital District.............................. Jim Solvason, Montgomery Delta District...........................................Frank Mozingo, Toxey Longleaf District .................................Tripp Winters, Chapman Mountain District............................Todd Langston, Stevenson Piedmont District ...............................Chris Langley, Camp Hill Valley District................................. DeWayne Oakley, Florence Vulcan District .................................Trae Bonner, Childersburg Warrior District .......................................Gee Allgood, McShan Wiregrass District......................................Mike Dixon, Eufaula ALC REPRESENTATIVE Chris Potts ................................................................LaFayette FOREST FUND REPRESENTATIVE Winston Bryant ..............................................................Heflin AT-LARGE DIRECTORS Paul Lohman .............................................................Prattville Hank Bauer.............................................................Perdue Hill Al Bracewell...................................................................Jasper Ryan Mattei ..................................................................Mobile Ray Colvin ...............................................................Tuscaloosa Mena McGowin Morgan .........................................Point Clear Patricia Moody.............................................................Auburn Virginia Macpherson......................................................Fulton Lenn Morris................................................................... Jasper Guice Slawson Jr................................................. Montgomery
Summe r 2016 | Volume 60 | Numb er 4
Communicating news & information of, about, and for the Alabama forestry community.
FEATURES Annual Meeting Speakers Announced
Timber Titan Dean Lewis
Logger Gathan Burns
Political Reformer Gary Palmer
Spotlight on National Land Realty
Especially for our tree farmers/landowners:
DEPARTMENTS From the Executive Vice President Dean’s Notebook News & Views
ABOUT THE COVER
Wildlife Report: Game Check Is Now Mandatory
Game Check Goes into High Gear Hunters will find that the Game Check App on their Smartphones is the easiest way to report the harvest of a deer or turkey. Story page 34. Photo courtesy Billy Pope
ALABAMA FORESTS EDITOR Sam Duvall
Wiregrass Trail Ride
GREEN HORIZONS EDITOR Leigh Peters
“Head ’em up...move ’em out!”
GRAPHIC DESIGN Marie Troy Alabama Forests (USPS #025-358) is an official publication of the Alabama Forestry Association, 555 Alabama Street, Montgomery, AL 36104-4359 and is published five times a year. The AFA reserves the exclusive right to accept or reject advertising or editorial material submitted for publication. Advertising rates quoted upon request. Periodicals postage paid at Montgomery, Ala. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Alabama Forestry Association, 555 Alabama St., Montgomery, AL 36104-4395.
This year’s annual Log A Load for Kids Trail Ride event in the Wiregrass District near Abbeville was a great success. Event participants, like those pictured here, helped raise more than $7,000 for the 2016 fundraising effort for the kids. Our congratulations to the event coordinators and participants for putting on another great show. In fact we want to take the opportunity to congratulate all of this year’s program coordinators and participants. The fundraising is going very well as we head into late summer and early fall. s
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See what’s new on our web site! alaforestry.org
From Executive Vice President
Early Results on Workforce Development s you may remember, AFA has implemented a comprehensive workforce development program designed to engage students with information about forestry, promote career opportunities in forestry and ensure interested workers have access to needed training and education. The first phase of this program is focused on educating students in grades K-8 about forestry and working with teachers to emphasize building math and science skills. Through our Black Belt Initiative, we have adopted schools in Thomasville and Uriah and provided funding for “coaches” in each school to work with teachers to incorporate math and science into every course of study.
Early Results Now in its 4th year, the results from this initiative are remarkable. Students’ standardized test results in math and science have risen from below the state average (which is below the national average) to above the national average for those students who have been tracked over the last 4 years. Practically speaking, this means that by the time they graduate from high school, these students will be MUCH better prepared to take the next step, whether it’s additional education or straight into the forestry workforce. ALABAMA FORESTS | Summer 2016
The second phase of the program is focused on promoting career opportunities in forestry in grades 9-12. At the request of the Alabama State Department of Education, we have developed the Forest Worker Certificate Program to provide students with a basic understanding of how we grow trees and manufacture forest products and of the job opportunities in our industry. To date we have provided training for almost 10% of the state’s 300 agriscience teachers. With an average of 115 students per teacher, this means almost 3,500 students per year will have the opportunity to receive the Forest Worker credential. Over the next few years we will be ramping up training for teachers with the ultimate goal of equipping all of Alabama’s agriscience teachers to teach the curriculum. Interestingly, we have recently fielded calls from officials in two other southern states who have heard of the program and are interested in using it in their schools. Currently, we are identifying “mentor groups” consisting of 4-6 foresters, loggers, landowners and manufacturing professionals who will work with each teacher who has adopted this program to serve as “guest speakers, facilitate mill or woods tours or mentor students interested in learning more about forestry careers. In addition to being offered
in classrooms, this video-rich curriculum will soon be available online. This will provide an opportunity for students who attend schools without an agriscience education program to obtain the credential. The final phase of the workforce development program involves career training and education. Once someone learns about forestry and decides to pursue a career in our industry, we want to help him or her down the path to the training or education required.
Training, Training, Training This involves two steps. First, we need to ensure there are adequate training or education programs to meet the variety of needs of the forest industry. Where no programs exist, we will work with partners to develop them. For example, we are taking the first steps to develop a logging equipment operator training program to provide a qualified supply of workers for Alabama’s logging workforce. In addition, we will be developing a training program specifically focused on log truck driving. Secondly, we understand that the cost of training and education programs can be a barrier for many students interested in forestry careers. Although we already provide scholarship assistance for a few forestry students at Auburn, there is much more we can—we MUST do.
Opportunity to Participate On Monday morning, September 12th, at our Annual Meeting in Orange Beach, U.S. Senator Richard Shelby will keynote our first annual Alabama Forestry Foundation Scholarship Fund Breakfast. Funds raised at this event will be used to provide financial assistance to students enrolling in career training, 2-year degree and 4-year degree programs across a broad range of career tracks for jobs in Alabama’s forest industry. Through the generous support of one of our partners, we have received a challenge grant of $250,000 that will allow us to leverage the contributions from this event. As you can see, there is MUCH work to do and we NEED your help. Just as we plant trees today to grow tomorrow’s forests, we must invest in today’s students to grow tomorrow’s forestry workforce. If you can help, please let me know. s 3
Upcoming AFA Event
Our Dynamite Lineup for the AFA 2016 Annual Meeting
his year’s speakers bring a lot of class and knowledge to the AFA Annual Meeting lineup at Orange Beach!
Foundation Breakfast Speaker Senator Richard Shelby: Leading a very distinguished list of program participants at the AFA 2016 Annual Meeting will be U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, who will keynote the Monday, Sept. 12 Alabama Foundation breakfast. Senator Shelby was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986. He chairs the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee. Senator Shelby also serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Committee on Rules and Administration.
Monday Keynote Attorney General Luther Strange: The AG will keynote the main conference on Monday, Sept. 12. As AG, Luther represents and defends the interests of the state. His tenure is marked by a strong emphasis on fighting public corruption, including the conviction and removal from office of the Alabama House Speaker in June. Luther also served as the court-appointed coordinating counsel for the Gulf Coast states in the historic Deepwater Horizon oil spill litigation which led to a landmark settlement to compensate Alabama for economic and environmental damages from that disaster.
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Conference Track 1 Speakers Craig Blair, CEO Resource Management Service, LLC: Craig became president and CEO of RMS in October 2010, with responsibility for RMS’s investments and operating businesses in the United States, Brazil, China, Australia and New Zealand. As president, he leads an experienced team of forestry and financial professionals that manage a global timberland portfolio of over $4 billion. Before that Craig directed RMS’s investment management team. Ted Seraphim, CEO, West Fraser: Before February 2007 Ted was vice president, Pulp & Paper Sales and on that date he was appointed vice president, Pulp & Paper, a position which he held until July 2010. He was executive vice president and chief operating officer from July 2010 to April 2012 when he was appointed president and chief operating officer. In March 2013 Ted became the company’s president and chief executive officer. Jim Porter, President WestRock Paper Solutions: Jim Porter joined WestRock in April 2008 as executive vice president, responsible for the Corrugated Packaging division. In May 2011, Jim became president of the Corrugated Packaging business segment and in May 2014, president of the Paper Solutions organization. The combined businesses Jim oversees have 14,000
employees producing approximately 13 million tons of containerboard, paperboard, kraft paper and pulp products. Mark Crosswhite, CEO, Alabama Power: Mark Crosswhite is chairman, president and chief executive officer of Alabama Power Company, which provides electricity to more than 1.4 million customers across the state. Before taking the helm at Alabama Power, Mark served as executive vice president and chief executive officer for Southern Company, Alabama Power’s parent company. He was responsible for Southern Company’s operations organization, which includes generation, transmission, engineering and construction services, system planning, research and environmental affairs, and fleet operations and trading. Crosswhite also was responsible for Southern Power, which provides energy to municipalities, electric cooperatives, and investor-owned utilities.
Tuesday Keynote Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey: Lt. Gov. Ivey will keynote the Tuesday, Sept. 13 breakfast session. Lt. Gov. Ivey is a longtime member of the AFA. Kay was elected lieutenant governor in 2010, becoming the first Republican woman to hold the office in Alabama’s history. She made history again in 2014 by becoming the first Republican lieutenant governor re-elected to the office. The lieutenant governor presides over legislative proceedings of the upper house as president of the Senate. s 5
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The Solon Dixon Forestry Education Center: The Keystone of Forestry & Wildlife Experiential Education By Katie Marberry, SFWS Development Intern, Summer 2016
ot far from the oak trees and picturesque brick buildings of The Plains lies the School of Forestry and Wildlife Science’s best kept secret—The Solon Dixon Forestry Education Center (SDFEC). It was created by a generous gift from Solon and Martha Dixon to Auburn University in 1978 of 5,350 acres of land and a $500,000 monetary contribution, which was at that point in time, the largest gift in Auburn University history. As a graduate of the Auburn University’s class of 1926, Solon Dixon aspired to promote excellence in forestry education by providing students with a hands-on laboratory to develop and practice responsible forest management. Today, the Dixon Center in Andalusia, Alabama is considered one of the finest educational facilities of its type in the nation. Home to the 6,500 square foot Solon and Martha Dixon Foundation Learning Center, it houses a state-of-theart auditorium, classroom and conference room, two large bunkhouses, five semi-private dormitory buildings, a rec center, administrative building, classroom and computer lab building, maintenance shop, and cafeteria. The original Dixon family home is also on the property and is preserved as a museum and historic landmark.
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Dixon’s vision is carried out every summer as School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences (SFWS) students travel to the SDFEC for summer practicum courses. Forestry majors attend between their sophomore and junior years, as an introduction to the forester’s craft, before beginning courses in their major. Wildlife ecology and management students attend just before their senior year as one of the final, unifying pieces of their education. For all SFWS students, the summer camp experience is crucial for career preparation. Tom Gallagher, associate professor of forest engineering, remarked that one of the greatest takeaways for students is “an understanding of what it takes to work in the woods,” as the summer can be “an eyeopening first experience.” During summer practicum, forestry students will learn many skills and techniques that will form the building blocks of their education. Marcus Williford, a junior in forestry, shared: “Some stuff you can only learn from experience, not from books. Doing it early in your career gives you a lot more opportunity to apply it throughout the rest of college.” Wildlife students, however, attend summer practicum later in college as a capstone to what has been learned in the classroom and to develop necessary
Dixon Center Director, Joel Martin, discusses the application of prescribed fire with practicum students. field skills for professional life. The wildlife course focuses on ornithology, herpetology, and large and small mammalogy. Students are broken into groups and assigned to six or seven checkpoints. Throughout the summer, the groups are responsible for tracking and logging animal populations at the checkpoints. The data created by this annual study yields important information on the condition of the SDFEC ecosystem, and in a larger sense, may help conservationists devise methods of managing the Conecuh National Forest. Richard Tharp, an Alabama Department of Conservation and National Resources (ADCNR) agent and wildlife biologist, stated that he “does not want to interview people with zero experience…[but] wants to see candidates that took initiative to go and learn hands-on skills.” In addition to living and working with top forestry and wildlife scholars, students have the opportunity to work with a variety of state, corporate, and private entities, including the ADCNR and the Huxford Pole Mill. These connections
provide students with networking opportunities and the ability to learn from practitioners who apply their expertise on a professional level. As a result, a number of the students have already secured jobs through connections they have made during the weeks-long camp. According to Joel Martin, the center’s director, this unique combination of classroom theory and practice helps students develop crucial skills for all levels of natural resource management. The SDFEC also provides an important educational purpose for other universities, such as Penn State, Mississippi State, and Yale University, that routinely bring students to perform research. Additionally, enthusiast groups visit the Dixon Center to study a variety of plants and animals, from butterflies to birds. A visit to the center provides a centralized location where groups can receive classroom instruction, perform field exercises and collaborate with others during workshops, training sessions and conferences—all from one facility that is accessible from five major cities! s 7
Timber Titan of Alabama’s Forest Industry Editor’s Note: In Greek Mythology Titans were a race of immortal giants of incredible strength. Today, “titans of industry” refers to individuals who made an incredible impact on the development of a particular industry. This article chronicles the life of Forestry Titan Dean Lewis.
Dean Lewis A Good Life in the Hardwoods By Sam Duvall ean was just 13 in 1948 when he started carrying water to the 12 members of his father’s peckerwood sawmill crew in Pickens County and to the two mules they used to skid logs to the mill. Dean’s father, A.B., had worked as a railroad and shipyard construction worker during World War Two. In 1948 A.B. took up sawmilling as a way to own his own business and be his own boss in an era when thousands of peckerwood sawmills dotted the landscape of Alabama and other states. While attending Aliceville High School — he graduated in 1954 — Dean took over Lewis Lumber Company payroll operations for his dad. “As I grew older and bigger, I was handed odd jobs in the yard and ‘back dogged’ on the sawmill carriage. Now, that was a lot of fun—risky, but fun. Back then, a career as a back dogger had lots of appeal,” Dean said. A back-dogger secured or “dogged down” a log to the carriage so the saw operator could move it back and forth, cutting the log into lumber. Despite enjoying back-dogging, Dean was still looking at other career options as he entered college. “I considered going for an engineering degree at the University of Alabama. But I knew I couldn’t handle the math, especially all that calculus,” Dean recalled. “So with my experience growing up around the mill, I opted to go into industrial management.”
Retired Aliceville sawmiller Dean Lewis, 81, started his lifelong involvement in forestry in 1948, predating by one year the formation of the Alabama Forestry Association in 1949. Dean served as AFA president in 2000 and like his father A.B. Lewis, has been a longtime leader in the forestry community. In this 1983 photo above, Dean Lewis and son Rusty conduct a field trial in Pickens County of an Albright Tree Cutter mounted on a 930 Caterpillar front-end loader.
From Mobile Peckerwood Mill to a Fixed Base As Dean worked toward his bachelor’s degree in industrial management in 1956, his father shut down his peckerwood mill and moved it to a permanent site in Aliceville. This was a period in which peckerwood mills were transitioning from the “cut out and get out” phase of forestry to establishing
ALABAMA FORESTS | Summer 2016
mills in fixed, permanent locations. In the peckerwood phase, operators took their mills to the timber. This new phase reversed that, putting mills in a fixed base and bringing timber to the mill. In late 1956, Dean married Jean McDaniel, a pretty young woman from Aliceville who was also a student at UA. They will celebrate their 60th anniversary this December. The couple have five grown children; sons, Rusty, Mike, Jeff and Joe (Jeff and Joe are twins) and daughter Paige. Dean received his B.S. degree in May 1958, along with a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Signal Corps and a six-month tour of active duty at Ft. Monmouth, N.J. He served 22 years in the U.S. Army Reserve and retired a lieutenant colonel in 1979. “While I was still in the Army (in 1958) my father invited me to return to Aliceville to help him run the mill. Our banker had a house for sale and Dad had made the down payment on it for Jean and me. It was an offer we couldn’t refuse. So I started back at the mill full-time in August 1959,” Dean recalled. Dean’s main job was wood procurement. He also bought logs delivered to the mill by outside contractors and individual loggers and oversaw the mill’s yard operations. Dean also managed the company’s timberland holdings, something he enjoyed because, “it got me out into the woods. “I worked at the mill for six to eight years, and we decided to get a logging crew. We started a logging crew and we cut
ALABAMA FORESTS | Summer 2016
Standing in front of some prime hardwood logs is Dean Lewis at the Lewis Brothers mill in Aliceville.
Timber Titan Dean Lewis
year. Jeff’s in charge of that. It’s been quite an ordeal. They went over to Mississippi to the Kitchen Brothers and bought a flooring mill and brought it over here and put it in. It’s running pretty good now so I think they’re doing alright with it,” Dean added. Last year the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) issued a certificate of certification to Lewis Brothers Lumber Company for their new flooring plant. Mike and Joe own Lewis Lumber and Milling in Dickson, Tennessee. Joe’s son Forest and Mike’s son Lee and daughter Libby work at the plant. They are the 4th generation of the Lewis family in the hardwood lumber business.
Does Anyone Ever Truly Retire?
5 1 Dean Lewis on his retirement as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve. 2 Happy couple, Dean and Jean Lewis. 3 Left to right, are Dean Lewis, Janet Ison (then-state Log a Load for Kids chair), north Alabama logger Blue Harbor and WZZK’s Bill Lawson, whose mouth is agape at Log a Load contribution of $460,000 to Alabama’s Children’s Hospitals. The event was a CMN-TV special from Children’s Hospital in Birmingham. 4 Dean Lewis (right) pictured with his brother Joe (left) and their beloved father A.B. Lewis in 1998 celebrating his 50 years in the hardwood sawmill business. 1 Here Dean Lewis (right) is talking with Jett Freeman, who became AFA president in 2001 after Dean served his term in 2000. within 15 miles of the mill for about 10 years. Then we got out 50 miles. When I left the mill about eight years ago (for retirement), we were going out to 100 miles,” Dean said, noting that good quality hardwood logs are getting harder and harder to find. “We’ve got three hardwood sawmills nearby: Buchannan, McGee and us. There’s a scarcity of the timber,” Dean said.
The Lewis Brother Take Over Dean’s younger brother Joe joined Lewis Lumber Company in 1963 as secretarytreasurer. The brothers then changed the company name to Lewis Brothers Lumber Company in 1976 when they bought the company from their father. The boys asked A.B. to stay on as president, with Dean as vice president handling day-to-day operations. 10
After a fire in 1979, the mill had to be rebuilt so the brothers took the opportunity to create a state-of-the-art hardwood mill, which they continued to maintain with equipment updates and additions. With Dean and Joe running the company their beloved father passed away in 2007 at the age of 93. (They lost their mother Edna in 2010 at age 97.) In 2008 Dean and Joe sold the sawmill to their sons, as their father had sold it to them. “My brother and I sold out, each one of us, to one of our kids and they are running it now. I don’t have anything to do with the mill now,” Dean noted. Dean’s son Jeff is president of the company today. David, Joe’s son, manages the procurement side of the operation. “Jeff handles all of the lumber sales. They are putting in a flooring plant this
Although Dean “officially” retired in 2008, he still councils his sons and often talks with Jeff, who visits at his father’s home to talk shop. Dean also often looks in at the mill and still receives some mail there. Familial consultations aside, Dean’s “official” retirement job, which he shares with Joe, is overseeing family timberlands that Dean and Joe agreed to help manage for their sons for 15 years. “We had a good many acres. About half of it is in Alabama and about half of it is in Mississippi. We’re right on the Mississippi line. So I’m looking after our timberlands and timber sales and all. My main income is from doing that. You’d think that when you retired, you can go when you want to. But it doesn’t work like that,” he said, smiling. Still, Dean and Jean like to dote over their seven grandchildren and spend as much time as they can at a place they own on the Alabama coast. While we generally think of growing pine trees in plantations, Dean showed the author some hardwood plantations he had planted on family-owned land near the Lewis’s home. “Some of it looks pretty good. But pine trees have taken over some of it,” Dean pointed out. The 700-acre tract near Dean’s home has a lot of standing timber, both pine and hardwoods. It is also some ALABAMA FORESTS | Summer 2016
beautiful hunting habitat for deer and turkey.
Leadership Demands Local Participation
Dean and Jean’s Close Call
n addition to his statewide involvement in forestry leadership, Dean Lewis has always maintained a high-level of involvement in his local community in and around Aliceville, Alabama.
Some of the destruction to the Lewis’s In addition to the damage to their home, the Lewis’s also lost home wrought by 110 mile per hour flat line winds in 2014. two vehicles to the powerful microburst. In the immediate aftermath Dean’s son Rusty, who lives next door, brought his equipment and helped clean up the mess and get the pile of trees and limbs off the highway. Showing the kind of pluck that carried him through the disaster, Dean laughed, and said of the incident, “That’s kind of the story of what’s happened to me since I retired!” In addition to his “retirement” job of land management, Dean and Jean both still exercise regularly and remain active in their community. With the battering they took from Mother Nature in 2014, the Deans have proven that even in retirement they still know how to weather life’s storms. s ALABAMA FORESTS | Summer 2016
Photo by J.R. Harbison
Dean and Jean Lewis live outside of Aliceville and until 2014 the area around their home was a study in forestry, dotted with large pine and hardwood trees. But on April 6, 2014, Mother Nature paid a visit via powerful straight-line winds that devastated the Lewis’s property and sent some of those beautiful, large trees tumbling through the Lewis’s home and out onto the highway in front of their house. “We were watching Channel 6 weather a little after 9 P.M. They were talking about thunderstorms. Then a 110 MPH down blast hit our house. The only warning we got was the lights blinked and hail started hitting the house. We were running to the little bathroom in the back of the house but didn’t make it” before trees and limbs crashed through the house all around the Deans! Uninjured and undaunted, Dean and Jean considered totaling the home and starting over, but decided to stay with their original home. They made the den area of the house, the hardest hit section, a bit larger than before the devastating storm and today you can’t tell that the house was ever damaged.
In June of 2016, Dean was hon- Dean Lewis (center, holding plaque), was ored at the 50th Forestry Field Day honored at the 50th Forestry Field Day in held at the U.S. Corps of Engineers Pickensville. Also pictured were front row: Recreational Use area in Pickensville, Katherine Lavender of the Aliceville Chamber of Commerce, David Walker of McGee Lumber, Ala. Then-state forester Greg Pate Dean Lewis, Alabama State Forester Greg Pate, presented Dean with a special Patti Presley-Fuller of the Alabama Cooperaplaque recognizing his many years tive Extension System, Gee Allgood of McShan of dedicated service to the Forestry Lumber, and Keith Bain of Lewis Lumber ComField Day in that area. But the Field pany. Back row: Edward Owens of the Pickens Day award is but one example of the County Board of Education, John Rainer of J.F. local support and leadership proRainer and Sons, Tony Junkin of BNB of Central vided by Dean and his family. Alabama, Tim Browning of the Alabama Dean was also the recipient of Forestry Commission, Chuck McDonald of the Aliceville’s 1996 Citizen of the Year Alabama Forestry Commission, Max Allen of Award recognizing more than 30 the City of Aliceville and Grover Allgood of years (now more than 50 years) of McShan Lumber. continuous community service. He has been director and president of the Aliceville Rotary Club, and director and president (twice) of the Chamber of Commerce. Dean and his wife Jean are also active in the Aliceville First Baptist Church where dean has served as chairman of Deacons. Dean also has served as trustee and chairman of the board of Pickens Academy. When he was named president of the Alabama Forestry Association in 2000, Dean extolled the virtues of volunteer work at the local level as a way of introducing forestry to others. “All of us—sawmills, chip mills, consultants, contractors, foresters, loggers, landowners, lumber companies, paper mills, pulpwood yards—must provide strong volunteer support efforts if we are to achieve our AFA goals of a strong future for forestry in Alabama,” Dean said in 2000. Although those words were spoken 16 years ago, they are just as true and just as relevant today. Many thanks to the Lewis family for practicing what they preach in giving back to their local community. 11
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Logging Professional Proﬁle We believe loggers should be celebrated for the part they play in the wood fiber supply chain of keeping wood flowing to the mills.
Keeps the Wood Flowing in Good Times and Bad By Sam Duvall
The Burns family, left to right, son Brady, Gathan and Lavonda Burns.
Gathan Burns was born and raised in Piedmont, Alabama, where he met the love of his life, LaVonda Williams, as they attended school. After graduating from high school Gathan and LaVonda were married in 1983, a year after Gathan had become a third generation logger on taking a job with his father.
he Burnses’ only child, son Brady, is a 23-year-old law student at Faulkner University in Montgomery. As most of you know, logging is a dangerous way to make a living. Time Magazine reported recently that logging was the most dangerous civilian profession in America, with 111 fatalities per 100,000 loggers in 2014. Despite its inherent danger, Gathan Burns took to logging like a duck to water. You could even say that Gathan doubled down on the danger in his life by choosing as his hobby the sport of
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dirt track racing, which he has done on and off for 30 years; about as long as he has been logging. LaVonda cringes a little when discussing the car crashes and equipment disagreements and malfunctions that Gathan has had over the years, but her man always came out relatively unscathed. “He’s had some real bad wrecks [while racing], but always walked away from it. I support him in doing it [racing]. Our son Brady used to race his own car alongside his dad. So it was something we could do as a family,” LaVonda noted. She also recalls close calls and near misses in the
woods, like the time when the brakes failed on a loaded log truck bouncing down a steep north Alabama hill that forced Gathan to leap from the truck in order to save himself from a possible lifethreatening crash. Having dodged the bullet on more than one occasion, Gathan is now facing a May 31 diagnosis of lung cancer. He and his family are fighting this latest danger stoically, and with the same determination that they have faced all other dangers down through the years. Gathan is taking treatments and has “good days and bad days.” But he’s still out 13
Logger Gathan Burns
The whole company of Burns’s employees: Front row, left to right, Ben Kilgore, Jason McGee, Edwin Kelley, LaVonda Burns, Gathan Burns, Dustin Gladden, Dale Bates, Gene Hardin, Billy Proctor, Keith Kelley, Jessie Beecham, Jeremy Goss, Hunter Ginn and Ted Pruitt. Back row, left to right, Kenny Bailey, Sawyer Gowens, Tim Christopher, Tim Brittain, Jake Curtis, Chester Spires, Lee Spires, Jonathan Holcomb, Richard Brasher, Kevin Woods, Kevin Hale, Kevin Anthony, Thomas Matthews, Keith Pace, Danny Hunt, Wade Allen and Dennis Danford. Not present: Gary McCurdy, Stephen Aikens, Bobby McCullough, Ava Maddox.
Timber buyers for Cherokee Timber Company include, left to right, Hunter Ginn, Gathan Burns, Dale Bates and Jeremy Goss. Inset: Gary McCurdy Burns’s Timber Tigercat skidder pulls a hefty brace of logs up the hill at Talladega National Forest as cutter operates in the background. there overseeing the work he has been doing since he started logging full-time with his father, Carl David Burns, in 1982. Gathan later bought out his father and owns all of the Burnses’ family businesses. Although Carl provided Gathan with advice and council over the years, he was himself diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on March 31 and sidelined from helping out.
Burns Timber Company Has Outstanding Safety Record Despite the dangers inherent in logging, Burns Timber Company has an outstanding safety record that includes no medical treatment cases or lost-time accidents on a logging job over the last 15 years. On taking over Burns Timber Company from his father, Gathan transformed it from a small logging company into a multi14
faceted enterprise of four companies: Cherokee Timber Company, Cherokee Wood Products LLC, Burns Timber Co. Inc., and BTC Trucking. Cherokee Timber is a company Gathan started with forester Jeremy Goss. The company buys timber and sometimes land and uses two contract logging companies to greatly expand Burns’s ability to serve markets in northeast Alabama. Cherokee Wood Products was formed around the land Gathan bought to set up his wood yard and office. Burns Timber is the logging company that Gathan took over from his father that now engages two full-time crews. BTC Trucking serves as the transportation arm for all of the companies. Altogether, the Burnses’ companies produce on average 160 to 175 loads of wood a week for customers including International Paper at Coosa, Georgia; Kronospan at Eastaboga; Georgia Pacific at Thorsby,
Alabama, and Coosa and Warm Springs, Georgia and Southern Parallel in Albertville. Equipment-wise, Gathan’s companies run nine trucks and also use two contract trucks to keep the sticks moving to the mills. The company owns 19 log trailers and several utility and lowboy trailers. For harvesting operations, Burns owns four cutters and five loaders including a Tigercat T240B track loader with a grapple saw which he bought after tornadoes devastated hundreds of acres of forest land in north Alabama in 2011. The companies also own nine skidders and one Chambers Delimbinator. The machines and trucks range in age from something old to something new, and everything in between as Gathan’s company shop crew works to keep all of the moving parts moving.
Gathan’s Business Savvy Helps Him Stay Ahead of the Pack Demonstrating his flexibility as a businessman, Gathan bought the Tigercat T240B track loader in order to be able to get into the gnarled, twisted timber left by the tornadoes that cut wide swaths ALABAMA FORESTS | Summer 2016
This is a shot of Gathan’s woodyard, taken from the scales where truck’s delivering wood weigh in. In upper left is the company shop and in upper right is the wood storage area of the woodyard. To the immediate left is the company office building for all of the Burns family companies. through the forestlands of north Alabama during the awful outbreak in 2011. When storms damage or take down timber, it reduces the commercial viability of the wood from years to mere days or at best a few weeks before degradation reduces its commercial value to practically nothing. Buying this specialty loader equipped with a grapple saw enabled Gathan to get in quick and help landowners salvage as much of their storm-damaged wood as time and circumstances would allow. Despite the economic roller coaster loggers have ridden during the recent Great Recession, the four companies the Burns family owns have done well. In fact, they have added employees, increasing the total from 24 when Gathan was profiled in Alabama Forests for the 2011 Logger of the Year contest—which he won—to the 30 employees currently working for the family businesses. On the home front, LaVonda keeps the books and paperwork in check as her mother Elaine Williams and Gathan’s mother Elsie Burns pitch in. Ava Maddox is the company secretary. And the family patriarch, Carl David Burns, was often around to lend a hand until sidetracked by his recent illness. “It’s a good company,” said LaVonda, referring to all of the family businesses. All transactions are accounted for with Quick Books Pro and Caribou Mechanics Edge Ticket Tracking to keep up with maintenance and repairs on equipment and trucks. Revenues, expenses, and profit and loss are available on any of the businesses ALABAMA FORESTS | Summer 2016
Burns Timber Company field truck set up to grease and service vehicles in the woods.
At right, Gathan Burns holds the checkered flag after winning the late model division at Green Valley Speedway in Glencoe, Ala. Standing beside Gathan is wife Lavonda. At left are Kevin Woods and Gathan and LaVonda’s son Brady who raced but was beaten by his daddy. at any time. LaVonda and the ladies of the family also contribute to the family atmosphere at the office by sharing home-cooked treats and LaVonda demonstrated her green thumb by using three old skidder tires behind the office as planters for growing fresh tomatoes.
What about the Future of the Future? One of the major concerns which Gathan expressed about the future viability of logging is the difficulty of finding and keeping good, experienced workers to man the machines that make logging efficient and economically feasible. “It’s getting harder and harder to find workers. I’ve been looking for a cutter man for quite a while and still haven’t found one,” Gathan noted, in an oft-repeated refrain from loggers across the state.
Although Gathan is a third generation logger who followed his grandfather and father into the business, there might not be a fourth generation to come. His son Brady will likely take up the legal profession as he works toward a law degree at Jones School of Law at Faulkner University in Montgomery. Asked what might happen to the companies, LaVonda and Gathan said only time will tell. With Gathan now 52 years old and facing a serious health issue, LaVonda said she hopes they can both continue doing what they are doing now at least until they are in their 60s. Whatever lies ahead for the Burns family, we wish them well and hope that circumstances will allow them to continue their outstanding work in the wood business. s 15
Underwriting â—† Loss Control â—† Claims Administration â—† Investigation â—† Legal Defense ForestFundâ€™sSURIHVVLRQDOVWDIISURYLGHVXQSDUDOOHOHGVHUYLFHEHJLQQLQJZLWK\RXUÂ¿UVWFDOOWRWKHXQGHUZULWLQJ GHSDUWPHQW4XDOLÂ¿HGDSSOLFDQWVZLOOUHFHLYHDSURPSWTXRWH/RVVFRQWUROH[SHUWVZLOODGYLVH\RXDQG\RXUHPSOR\HHV on all aspects of a safety program. Any claims may be reported with a toll-free number 24 hours a day. Once the claim is UHSRUWHGDQLQYHVWLJDWLRQLVFRQGXFWHG,IDFFHSWHGWKHFODLPLVHIÂ¿FLHQWO\DGMXVWHG7KHLQMXUHGHPSOR\HHLVWUHDWHGE\ KHDOWKFDUHSURYLGHUVVSHFLDOL]LQJLQZRUNSODFHLQMXULHV(PSOR\HUVDUHJLYHQWLPHO\UHSRUWVRQWKHSURJUHVV of each claim. When claims are disputed, ForestFund members are represented by the best workersâ€™ compensation defense lawyers in the state. ForestFundLVLQLWVIRXUWKGHFDGHRISURYLGLQJH[FHSWLRQDOVHUYLFHIRUHPSOR\HUVDQGHPSOR\HHV who harvest, transport, manufacture, buy or sell forest products. Sure there are other programs that provide workersâ€™ compensation coverage, but do they measure up to ForestFund when it FRPHVWR6WDELOLW\6DYLQJV6HUYLFHDQG6DIHW\"0DNHWKHFDOOWRÂ¿QGRXW*HQHUDO/LDELOLW\ TXRWHVDUHDOVRDYDLODEOH For a quote, call Kelly Daniel at ForestFund: (334) 495-0024
A Proﬁle in Public Service Editor’s Note: This regular feature profiles an individual engaged in the political arena.
Gary Palmer From Policymaker to Political Reformer By Tom Saunders
Wonk—[noun \wäŋk\]—a person who knows a lot about the details of a particular field (such as politics) and often talks a lot about the subject…
he year was 1989… President Ronald Reagan handed over the reign of leadership to George H.W. Bush, the first Al Qaida cell was discovered in the United States, and the Auburn Tigers welcomed their arch rival to Jordan Hare Stadium for the first time—all important events. Also of importance that year was the founding of the Alabama Family Alliance (now Alabama Policy Institute) in Birmingham. Current Alabama Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker was the founding executive director and Gary Palmer was a cofounder who would become its president. Palmer would guide the organization for its next 24 years and would become the quintessential example of a policy wonk. In 1989, Palmer was working at Rust Engineering in Birmingham when he felt called to apply to attend a four-week Christian counseling conference hosted by James Dobson’s Focus on the Family. Only 25 people were selected nationally to attend.
Called for Leadership “While I was out there [California], people kept telling me that I wasn’t there just for that program, that I was called for leadership. The last day, one of their vice presidents asked me for names of contacts in ALABAMA FORESTS | Summer 2016
Alabama; he wanted to find somebody to set up one of these state-based public policy groups, and I knew immediately that’s what I was supposed to do,” Palmer recalled. “I went home, called him back the next week to ask how to set something up, and within six weeks we were incorporated. Even though I had never done anything remotely political in my life, we got it started and within a year and a half we were considered one of the model organizations.” During his tenure, the Alabama Policy Institute became a full-spectrum public policy organization that engaged in virtually all policy issues that affected Alabamians. It is considered the premier conservative think tank in Alabama. Palmer also was a founding member of the board of directors of the State Policy Network, an umbrella entity organized by the Heritage Foundation for various statebased think tanks. He served on the State Policy Network board for six years, the last two as chairman. Leading this broad coalition of policy thinkers gave Palmer exposure and knowledge of policy problems that confront all 50 states. When State Policy Network was founded in 1992, there were fewer than 20 state think tanks in their network. Today, the State Policy Network has 65 member organizations. Palmer served on four different state commissions on behalf of three different
governors. He was appointed to the Welfare Reform Commission by Governor Fob James. He also served as an advisor to Governor James’s Aerospace, Science and Technology Task Force. He was appointed to the Task Force to Strengthen Alabama Families by Governor Bob Riley, and the Alabama Commission on Improving State Government by Governor Robert Bentley.
From the Policy Frying Pan into the Political Fire In 2013, Mr. Palmer stepped down from API and decided to try to enter the arena of public service. Living in Hoover and a constituent of the 6th Congressional District, Gary decided to run for the seat being vacated by 11-term U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus. It was not an easy road. In his first election for public office, Palmer faced six opponents in the Republican Primary and finished second (19.7%) to former Alabama House of Representatives member Paul DeMarco (32.7%). 17
Profile on Gar y Palmer
Other big names in the primary were former state Senator Scott Beason (15.3%), popular Tea Party selection and physician Chad Mathis (15.3%) and prominent Birmingham businessman Will Brooke (13.9%). In the primary runoff Palmer managed to turn the tables on DeMarco and then coasted to victory in the general election over Democrat Mark Lester taking 76% of the vote. In Congress, Palmer is focused on paying down the national debt by cutting spending, regulatory reform by reducing the number and expense of federal regulations, lowering energy costs and spurring economic growth and job creation by accessing America’s vast energy resources, and replacing Obamacare with a health care plan that puts people back in charge of their health care decisions and that will truly make health care affordable and available, and protecting life in all its forms.
Main Goal: Restoring Constitutional Government “If I had to pick one specific goal that I had upon taking office, I would have to focus on the restoration of constitutional government,” Palmer noted. Palmer serves on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee and also serves on the Budget Committee as well as the Space, Science and Technology Committee and is the representative for Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina on the Republican Policy Committee. AFA-EVP Chris Isaacson praised Palmer for his past work at the Policy Institute, which involved reforming government from the outside in, to his continuing work to reform government, this time from the inside out via his seat in the U.S. Congress. “Gary Palmer is the kind of public servant who is a bulwark against the overreaching arm of the federal government.
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We miss him being at the Alabama Policy Institute, but are very lucky to have him serving in the U.S. Congress,” Isaacson said. “I am also proud to say that Gary is an AFA member, which means he knows us and our issues.” Growing up poor in Hackleburg, Alabama, in a house built by his father with his own hands, Palmer was the first person on either side of his family to attend college, graduating from the University of Alabama where he earned a degree in operations management. Although he had not played high school football, he tried out for the Alabama Crimson Tide coached by the legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant as a walk-on, and made the team. Upon graduation, he worked in the private sector for 12 years, including nine with two major engineering firms. Palmer has been a member of the Rotary Club of Birmingham since 1993, and he is a Paul Harris Fellow. He holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Mobile. He and his wife Ann live in Hoover, Alabama, where they attend Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama. They have three children, Claire, Kathleen and Rob. We are indeed lucky to have Gary Palmer serving our state in the U.S. Congress! s
Main Office: Mobile, Alabama / 251.438.4581
Logger Dewayne Oakley State Senator Rusty Glover Associate Member ArborGen
ALABAMA FORESTS | Summer 2016
Associate Member Spotlight Associate Member Spotlight highlights associate members who are invaluable to AFA. Through their dues and sponsorships, associate members fund AFA’s grassroots activities, including regional receptions and outreach to our members, prospective new members and other interested parties. Please learn more about our associate members and support them so they will continue to be an integral part of our association.
Clint Flowers National Land Realty: Expanding Their Footprint Across the U.S.
Clint Flowers knows timberland. And because Alabama has 23 million acres of it—the third most of any single state in the U.S.—he’s in the right business, in the right place, at the right time.
he said. “This is another indicator to me of the confidence that intelligent investors have in timberland investments. However, since they’re strictly approaching timberland as an investment, they typically place a lower value on the bare land than a retail buyer who intends to also use it recreationally.”
Identifying Quality Land Throughout Alabama s a partner in National Land Realty, Flowers is seeing a robust demand for investment-grade timberland, both from the retail and corporate sectors. The stability of land investments coupled with historically low interest rates and a volatile stock market seem to be driving much of the demand for land, with the strongest desire being for “dual investment tracts” that carry both recreational and timber investment opportunities. The fact that land is a tangible investment that allows you to create memories with your family and friends that will last a lifetime is also an attractive dividend to many buyers. “Historically, we’ve seen a lot of corporately owned tracts broken up over time and sold to retail buyers, but in the last few years, we’ve seen an increase in those entities reaching out to land brokers to assist in locating properties for acquisition,”
ALABAMA FORESTS | Summer 2016
Growing up the son of consultant forester Earl Flowers in Jackson, Alabama, the passion for land was instilled in Clint at an early age. He has been in the woods all his life and is an avid hunter and outdoorsman. He saw an opportunity in retail land sales after college at the University of Alabama. He founded the retail real estate arm of family company A&M Forest Consultants in 2004, and after seeing significant growth for nearly twelve years, merged with National Land Realty in 2015 to continue that growth. His experience in the land business provides him the knowledge and expertise to identify quality tracts quickly and effectively for his clients on acquisitions, as well as those that should be liquidated to improve a client’s portfolio. Flowers is an Accredited Land Consultant, a designation given by the Realtors Land Institute to the most experienced and highest performing land sales experts in their area. Clint also
serves to improve the land and conservation industry in Alabama through his positions on the board of the Alabama Realtors Land Institute and the Alabama Forest Resources Center. When it comes to buying land, Flowers urges investors to remember that every tract is different. “The real estate adage ‘location, location, location’ applies to rural land too, especially timberland. Many times, you get what you pay for, so don’t select a property solely based on which tract has the cheapest price,” he said. “You will typically come out ahead paying more for a well-stocked tract with quality soils that’s in close proximity to the applicable mills when compared to buying a lower priced, isolated tract with poorer soils. This especially applies for timberland that will be well managed over its financial lifetime. But whatever type of land you’re looking for—timber, farming, wildlife—it all starts and ends with the quality of the soils. At National Land Realty, we’re able to quickly identify quality tracts, both on and off the market, removing any tract from the list that has any attribute that is deemed to have a ‘fatal flaw.’ Our clients’ time is valuable. We don’t want to waste it looking at tracts that won’t work for them.” About 80 percent of Alabama’s timberland is under private ownership, Flowers 19
Associate Member Spotlight
said, which makes it a great market for buying and selling, as well as improving portfolios through tools such as 1031 tax deferred exchanges and Conservation Easements. Flowers has extensive experience in sales and acquisitions using 1031 tax deferred exchange methods, as well as identifying tracts for mitigation banks and Conservation Easements. This knowledge, combined with National Land Realty’s unparalleled technology and marketing platforms, really sets the agency apart. “We can build a parcel driven platform for your search using a virtual infinite amount of options. Whether you only want tracts with a certain site index, soil type, or even proximity to the nearest WalSite Index Heat Map Mart, we can find them and score them. You give us the attributes you need, and we will find the property that fits,” he said. Flowers’ National Land Realty team includes agents with a wide range of experience: registered foresters, farmers, wildlife biologists, developers, and commercial brokers. There isn’t a tract in Alabama (and many other areas) they can’t help with. “Our group has over 200 years of combined experience in land management and sales across a broad spectrum of real estate, including recreational tracts, timberland, farms, hunting tracts and waterfront properties,” Flowers said. “We can do it all, supported by a strong team of team of successful people from diverse backgrounds in the land industry.”
A National Opportunity National Land Realty currently serves 16 states and is continuing to grow. The expertise of Flowers’ team in serving buyers and sellers from Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida made last year’s merger with National Land Realty a natural fit. “Part20
National Land Realty has been named one of America’s Top Brokerages by The Land Report magazine on multiple occasions. The company’s unique, researchbased approach to marketing includes methods of search engine optimization for every applicable market, tract mapping with a proprietary geographic information system (GIS) platform, and network of over 120 agents. At NationalLand.com, potential buyers are able to sign up for an account and perform drill-down searches for specific types of properties. “We’re able to filter searches not only by location and acreage, but also by features such as water, timber, income-production and more,” Walters said. “It’s really a top NCCPI Index Scoring Parcel Site Evaluation of the line, user friendly experience, that will continue to improve.” Founded in Greenville, South Carolina This combination—back-end infrain 2007, National Land Realty is a full-service real estate brokerage company focused structure to make operations more efficient, proactive web based marketing, on land sales, ranging from timberland, experienced brokers who know their local farmland, hunting estates, plantations, market, and a customer friendly website solar fields, residential estates and comthat allows for drill-down searches—has mercial properties. The company has made National Land Realty a force to be numerous offices spanning the U.S., from reckoned with, all to the benefit of its the east coast to the Wyoming border. diverse client base. Through a series of strategic mergers “It’s a win-win all around,” Flowers with brokers across America, the company has been aggressively expanding its footprint said. “If you’re looking for a specific type of property, we use the client supplied into new markets, most recently Colorado. attributes to literally ‘find the needle in “We’re always looking for the next opportuthe haystack’ without them ever having to nity,” Walters said. “Our company is made up of like-minded people with a track record leave the office. That way once we go look at a tract, you know it will work. And if of success across a broad spectrum.” The company’s secret to success is in you’re interested in listing a property for merging with local brokerages that have sale, we get your tract in front of buyers deep connections and experience in a given locally and around the world faster and in market. National Land Realty has created more ways than any brokerage out there. an economy of scale with back-end business It’s a great experience for our customers on infrastructure as well as a proactive marboth sides of the fence.” s keting strategy that helps local brokers connect land buyers and sellers in the Clint Flowers can be reached at 855.NLR.LAND or fastest, most efficient ways available today. firstname.lastname@example.org. nering up with a company this advanced in technology and marketing has given us the resources we need to better serve our market and continue to grow to meet the land industry’s increased demand for speed and efficiency,” Flowers said. Jason Walter, CEO of National Land Realty, added, “Clint knows the market, his customers, and his business. He and his team’s knowledge and record of success has made our partnership ideal. It was a 2 + 2 = 5 move for us.”
ALABAMA FORESTS | Summer 2016
NEWS & VIEWS
Summertime reveals many things…
Tim Browning, RF #1874 Alabama Tree Farm Chairman t was a hot summer day recently when my wife and I made one of many trips this spring/summer to Birmingham for a doctor’s appointment. We were actually in between two appointments and decided to stop for lunch. In a hurry but still wanting to stop and enjoy lunch in the shade, we grabbed lunch and started looking for a shade. Those small islands amongst the vast parking lots do break up the landscape and look very nice, but the selected plantings offer very little relief from the blistering sun. I finally spotted a dark spot in the corner of the parking lot and it had one open space. I grabbed it and was tickled to have a little shade while we ate lunch. As we ate and talked, I noticed that my perfect shade was also a nuisance. We had stopped underneath a mimosa (silk tree). I immediately switched gears, in my head at least, and started practicing forestry. I began to look for other problems. What other invasive species are present? What diseases or insects are in the area? Why are there not better trees planted here for shade (or at least native, non-invasive ornamentals)? It’s funny how our careers and professional lives shape us sometimes. Invasive plants offer a variety of problems to the forest community. Invasive plants oftentimes aggressively compete with native plant communities. This competition over time, if not managed through
ALABAMA FORESTS | Summer 2016
mechanical or chemical treatments, may decrease forest production or even change the entire species makeup of a stand. We lose a lot of native wildlife forage due to invasive species crowding out or smothering those native succulent plants that deer and turkey enjoy. The land value will diminish rapidly in untreated stands. What was once a beautiful mixed pine/hardwood stand can very easily turn into a kudzu/ privet thicket if the landowner ignores controlling invasive plants. Ground water levels can sometimes be greatly reduced due to the ability of invasives to draw all of the moisture and nutrients from a piece of land. Devastating wildfires can sometimes be attributed to invasive plants where the amount of highly combustible invasive plants thrive in the understory. Recreation from hunting, wildlife viewing, hiking, and other activities are all diminished by the invasion of non-native, aggressive plants. No one industry or group of individuals is to blame for this huge problem that affects our forests. Many of the plants have been introduced by shipping and transporting goods along major trade routes dating back to the 1700s. Some plants have been introduced in agriculture for past means of erosion control. Many were moved or transported by settlers (even still today) as an ornamental plant for the yard or home place. There are far too many sources of spread and introduction to even mention here, so instead of researching how it started, let’s focus on control and eradication. It is important for a landowner to reforest or plant harvested areas of timber. It is important to regularly thin overcrowded stands. It is important to introduce and
maintain prescribed fire in applicable stands of timber. It is important to recognize and manage a stand’s environmental aspects (such as drainage, roads, SMZs, etc.). It is important to manage stands for wildlife forage and habitat. Lastly, it is important to manage, control, prevent, and eradicate invasive plant species within a forest stand. Summer is oftentimes the best time of year to make note of forgotten invasives while they are in full bloom and show up across the landscape. Most of these plants are in full foliage and may even offer an opportunity for chemical control application. If chemical or mechanical control is not applicable for your stand or situation during this season, it is at least a time to identify and mark an area for improvement on your property. As previously mentioned, invasive species have no one means to blame for introduction. Likewise, there is no one means, person, or organization for control. The responsibility for managing this beautiful landscape that I often talk about is on you as well as it is on me. Please help me take care of what God has created for all of us to enjoy!
Alabama Regional Landowner Conference
Wild Child in the Woods participants interact with a live gopher tortoise and learn to identify venomous and non-venomous snakes.
By Leigh Peters he conference kicked off Friday, with a series of informative talks covering a vast array of topics, including invasive species presented by Dr. Nancy Lowenstein of Auburn University, wildlife management presented by Kevin McKinstry of Westervelt, and prescribed burning presented by Jason Dockery of Alabama Forestry Commission. That evening a reception was followed by a banquet honoring those who have contributed to the success of the Alabama Tree Farm Program. The Alabama Tree Farm Committee took the opportunity to recognize the efforts of Tree Farmers, inspectors, and organizations who have been instrumental in accomplishing onthe-ground goals, motivating their peers, and educating landowners. Barnett and Edna King were recognized as the very first Tree Farmers from Alabama to receive the National Tree Farmer of the Year award. Vicki Leigh, director of the American Tree Farm System was on hand to present the Alabama Forestry Association with a plaque, recognizing their support and commitment to the Alabama Tree Farm Program. Dr. Salem Saloom presented a
Tim Browning presented the Southeast Region Tree Farmer of the Year award to John Boutwell.
The Alabama Regional Landownerâ€™s Conference, celebrating 75 years of the American Tree Farm System, was held May 20-21, 2016, at the beautiful 4H center in Columbiana, Alabama. This event offered an opportunity for landowners across the southeast to connect with natural resource professionals and fellow landowners. 24
proclamation signed by the governor of Alabama, and resolutions from both the Alabama House of Representatives and the Alabama Senate, recognizing the 75th Anniversary of the American Tree Farm System. U.S. Congressman Gary Palmer offered the keynote address Saturday morning, followed by a panel discussion on the Forest Industry and Market Outlooks. The panel was moderated by AFA EVP Chris Isaacson and featured industry leaders Ben Smith of Westrock, Joe Patton of Westervelt, Larry Jones of Industree, and Tim Thornhill of Louisiana Pacific. The morning also held a program for children, Wild Child in the Woods, hosted by Amy Gaddy and Renee Raney of the Georgia-Alabama Land Trust Conservation Education Institute. This unique outdoor adventure included a Hiss & Slither program with live non-venomous snakes, a Fake Snake hike, Reading the Woods, and a live gopher tortoise exhibit. The conference concluded Saturday afternoon with informative breakout sessions, covering a wide array of topics affecting landowners, including wildlife
ALABAMA FORESTS | Summer 2016
This conference was made possible by the generosity of the following sponsors: Platinum
Barnett and Edna King, with Chris Isaacson, were recognized as the first Tree Farmers from Alabama to receive the National Tree Farmer of the Year award.
Keynote speaker U.S. Congressman Gary Palmer chatting with John and Ann Boutwell.
Chris Isaacson moderates the panel discussion on Saturday.
Lamar Dewberry presenting Inspector of the Year award to Tim Browning.
Alabama Forestry Association was recognized for their support and commitment to the Alabama Tree Farm Program.
and hunting, shortleaf pine restoration, land trusts, prescribed burning, and federal regulatory threats. Speakers included Chris Erwin of American Forest Foundation, Chuck Sykes of Alabama DCNR, Katherine Eddins of Georgia-Alabama Land Trust, Joel Moon and Chris Isaacson of Alabama Forestry Association, and Chris Cook of Alabama DCNR. s ALABAMA FORESTS | Summer 2016
TANYARD TIMBER LLC Tim Browning, Salem Saloom and Lamar Dewberry with proclamations recognizing the 75th Anniversary of the American Tree Farm System.
Cedar Creek Plantation Butler County, Alabama
Alabama Forestry Commission
Taking an Active Role in Threatened & Endangered Species
Photo courtesy Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
By Walter E. Cartwright, Forest Management Division Director, Alabama Forestry Commission
he northern long-eared bat and black pine snake were recently listed as threatened and critical habitat was
established for the species’ recovery. These and other recent listings by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has prompted The Alabama Forestry Commission to hire a retired state employee with vast experience in the wildlife field and particularly related to threatened and endangered species. Ray Metzler will serve as a threatened and endangered species specialist, monitoring proposed future listings, providing comments to the State Forester and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as needed. Ray will also provide forest management recommendations to field foresters who will address habitats of concern and provide proper forest management techniques for landowners.
On April 26, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a press release determining that “critical habitat is not prudent for threatened northern long-eared bat.” These excerpts came from that press release: “Given the nature of the primary threats facing the species and the potential harm of publishing its hibernation locations, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that designating critical habitat for the northern long-eared bat under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is not prudent. The service’s determination does not affect the bat’s threatened status, which it received in 2015 due to white-nose syndrome, a deadly fungal disease impacting cave-dwelling bats.” “Critical habitat is a designation under the ESA for lands that contain habitat features that are essential for the survival and recovery of a listed species, which may require special management considerations or protections. The ESA requires the service to consider which areas are needed for a species’ recovery and to designate critical habitat accordingly, unless it determines that doing so is not prudent for the species.” “While critical habitat has a fundamental role to play in recovering many of our nation’s most imperiled species, in the case of the northern long-eared bat, whose habitat is not a limiting factor in its survival, designating it could do more harm than good,” said Tom Melius, the service’s midwest regional director. “Today’s finding will ensure we don’t put the bat at greater risk by drawing people to its hibernation sites. It also enables the service and our partners to focus our efforts where they clearly can do the most good, finding a solution to the primary threat of white-nose syndrome.” This sudden change in direction by that agency is one of many reasons that we need a specialist fully devoted to following these issues, which can literally change overnight or at some court’s decision. We have decided to be more proactive and less reactive to proposed listings and will work diligently with the USFW to provide any scientific and pertinent information that we can provide to them as well as the landowners of Alabama. Hopefully this proactive approach will limit the impact of any listings on the timberland owners of the state. s
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It’s American Tree Farm System’s
75th Anniversary! This year marks the 75th anniversary of the American Tree Farm System. As we celebrate this milestone, we’d like to take the time to honor and thank you, our Tree Farmers here in Alabama, for the hard work you have put into your forests over the years. he success of the Tree Farm System is in large part because of the work you and your families have done to help familyowned forests continue to provide a home for wildlife, clean water that flows to our faucets, wood for homes, furniture and other goods, and so much more. ATFS has been described as the greatest voluntary forest conservation movement in our country’s history, and here in Alabama we can say the same. We have over 2700 dedicated Tree Farmers, and almost 200 volunteers who have invested time, energy and hard work in our forests, all because we share in a community of forest stewardship. Our work is not done. Our forests still face many challenges: the threat of wildfire, spreading invasives, changing temperatures and more. We hope you will continue to be a part of our Tree Farm community for the next 75 years, and help our forests make a measurable difference on clean water, wildlife habitat and
sustainable wood supplies in a large-scale way. Alabama Tree Farmer Emmett McCall was Whether you have “just trees” that shelter certified as the first native plants and animals, a bit of “woods” non-industrial Tree behind your house where the kids play and Farm on April 4, 1943. you cut firewood, or a “tree farm” that earns your family income—if you have ten acres or more of land with trees, you have a forest. If you own that forest as an individual, a couple, a family partnership, or some other grouping of unincorporated individuals, you are a family forest owner. s
Calling for Alabama Tree Farmer of the Year Nominations ach year, the Alabama Tree Farm Committee recognizes superior stewardship of its Tree Farm members through the Alabama State Tree Farmer of the Year Award. These landowners are chosen for their remarkable efforts to demonstrate, communicate and spread sustainable practices. To nominate a Tree Farmer for their outstanding efforts, please visit www.alaforestry.org/treefarm and download the State Tree Farmer of the Year Nomination Form.
ALABAMA FORESTS | Summer 2016
30th Annual Silent Auction — Call for donations — he Alabama Tree Farm Committee is preparing for the 30th Silent Auction to be held in conjunction with the AFA Annual Meeting. The Silent Auction is Tree Farm’s largest fundraiser, and proceeds are used to promote Alabama’s Tree Farm program and serve Tree Farmers throughout the state. The committee is seeking donations of items or funds for the purchase of bid items. We would love to have Alabama-made items that come from all parts of the state. Please contact local craftsmen in your area. We will advertise his/her business alongside the item, and publish a list of auction items along with the crafter’s contact information for meeting participants. Donations are tax deductible.
Examples of items to donate include:
l Travel packages (hunting, fishing, beach, other leisure) l Sports game tickets l Wall art (paintings, drawings, photos) – framed please l Hand crafted gift items (wood, pottery, glass, metal, textile items etc.) l Furniture (wood benches, Adirondack chairs, tables, etc.) l Jewelry l Yard art (bird baths, birdhouses, planters, etc.) l Services (spa, landscaping, fine dining) l Plants (gift certificates to nurseries etc.)
The clock is ticking on your continuing education deadline! Get ’er done, now! www.alaforestry.org/cfe
Please contact the Alabama Tree Farm Program at email@example.com or 334-265-8733 to donate items or funds.
Alabama Natural Resources Council Regional Forestry Field Dates have been set. Mark your calendars and make plans to attend. ANRC Regional Field Days South Region Thursday, October 13, 2016 Butler County Cedar Creek Plantation
Central Region Thursday October 20, 2016 Coosa County Rolling Mountain Plantation
North Region Thursday, October 27, 2016 Cleburne County Jimmerson Treasure Forest
ALABAMA FORESTS | Summer 2016
Alabama Tree Farm Committee Black Belt District Bart Adams (334) 410-0608 Capital District Walter Cartwright (334)-240-9324 Delta District Benji Elmore (251) 275-3283 Longleaf District Mike Older (334) 222-0379 Mountain District Todd Langston (256) 434-4712
State Chairman Tim Browning (205) 367-8232
Piedmont District Amy Gaddy 256-447-1006 Valley District Johnnie Everitt (256) 383-4376 Vulcan District Jason Dockery (256) 734-0573 Warrior District Tim Browning (205) 367-8232 Wiregrass District Heather Wierzbicki (334) 855-5394
Tree Farm #:
Board Development Chair Tom Carignan (334) 361-7677
Outreach & Education Chair Allen Varner (334)-240-9308 Certification Chair Lamar Dewberry 256-396-0555 At Large Directors Tim Albritton (334) 887-4560 John Boutwell (334) 365-9221 Don East (256) 396-2694
n 2016, the American Tree Farm System marks its 75th anniversary, and we hope you will join in celebrating this milestone. Sharing the successes of Tree Farm helps raise the profile of our family woodlands and woodland owners. ATFS would not be the program it is today without the people who helped mold it along the way. Tree Farmers, inspectors, volunteers, community leaders, and forest partners all have a hand in the Tree Farm system. Please consider sharing your stories of these individuals that have overcome challenges or done something incredible in the name of forest stewardship. Send your stories and pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org. s
Is Your Tree Farm Information Current?
Tree Farm County:
GPS coordinates if available:
Tree Farm Name:
Tree Farm Organization (if LLC, etc.)
If yes, how many tracts?
Forested acres change?
If yes, estimated forested acres:
Please return to Alabama Tree Farm Committee 555 Alabama Street Montgomery, AL 36104
ALABAMA FORESTS | Summer 2016
Chris Isaacson (334) 265-8733 Doug Link (251) 564-6281 Salem & Dianne Saloom (251) 867-6464 Charles Simon (334) 222-1125 Jim Solvason (334) 372-3360 Carolyn Stubbs (334) 821-0374
We Need to Hear From You!
Vice Chairman Lamar Dewberry (256) 396-2485 Financial Committee Chair Heather Wierzbicki (334) 855-5394 Awards & Recognition Chairs Paul Hudgins (334) 376-9114
Email: email@example.com Phone: 334-265-8733
e r u t a N o t s id K g in t c e n Con Nature is a grea great at teacher! T Try ry this outdoor activ a activity ity â€“ itâ€™ itâ€™ss safe, fun, and educational. ducational. Project Learning T TreeÂŽ reeÂŽ activ activities childrenâ€™ss creative and critical thinking skills ities build childrenâ€™ environment while they learn what the env ironment needs to remain healthy and sustainable.
Pass the Plants, Please
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â€˘ Seeds (wheat, rice, corn, pecans, walnuts, beans)
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News & Views
AFF Sponsors Annual FFA Competition
Students and forestry career development event volunteers pause for a photograph prior to beginning the FFA competition. Hosted at the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences building and sponsored by the Alabama Forestry Foundation, volunteers help make the annual event a success.
By Ashley Smith Mark Bond (center) stands with his daughter Mary Carson Bond and son William Bond. The three serve as volunteers with the FFA forestry career development event each year.
ummer brings the annual high school FFA Forestry Career Development Event, which promotes healthy and productive forests, water, and wildlife through forest management skills taught to high school students participating in the state competition. In an effort to stimulate interest and promote forestry, the Alabama Forestry Foundation sponsors the FFA Forestry Career Development Event each year. By competing in events that require knowledge of the economic and environmental values of forestry, skills and competencies related to forestry instruction are tested. The top twelve schools from across Alabama visit Auburn to compete in the ALABAMA FORESTS | Summer 2016
competition. The winning school/students go to the FFA National Competition. At the state level, students compete in a written examination that tests the studentsâ€™ knowledge and understanding of basic principles of forestry. Participants must also compete in a field examination. The field portion consists of various events including timber cruising, timber stand improvement, tree identification, and compass and pacing. Finally, students are quizzed on forest pests. The 2016 competition was hosted at Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Science and made possible by numerous volunteers who make the event a success. s
What tree is this? Twenty tree species are included in the dendrology portion of the FFA competition.
News & Views
2016 TCW Update 4 days ors + 30 educat g education in u in t n o c s + 40 hour t Learning c e j o r P s u + Numero ies Tree activit ––––––––– —–––––––––––––
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Sponsors: Alabama Chapter of the Association of Consulting Foresters Alabama Forest Owners Association Alabama Pulp & Paper Council Alabama Sustainable Forestry Initiative State Implementation Committee Bell Yarbro Investments LLC Canfor Scotch Gulf Lumber Cedar Creek Land & Timber, Inc. Crosby Lumber Co., Inc. Forest Investment Associates Forests Forever Fulton Logging Co., LLC Hancock Forest Management Inc. Harper Lumber Co. Harrigan Lumber Co., Inc. International Paper - Pine Hill Jackson County Farmers Federation Jessie Boyles Family Trust Littrell Lumber Mill, Inc. Melala, LP Packaging Corporation of America Rayonier, Inc. Regions Bank - NRRE Dept. Renfroe Plantation Rock Springs Land & Timber, LLC Sizemore & Sizemore, Inc. Southeastern Society of American Foresters Thelma Dixon Foundation War Eagle Chapter Society of American Foresters WestRock - Mahrt WestRock - Panama City Zilkha Biomass, LLC
ALABAMA FORESTS | Summer 2016
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ALABAMA FORESTS | Summer 2016
Wildlife & Outdoors
Game Check Starts This Year By David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
huck Sykes is on a quest. The Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) director is touring the state to educate hunters about the Game Check program and how it can benefit both hunters and wildlife resources in the short term and for many years to come. The Game Check program, used on a voluntary basis for the past three years, will be mandatory for the 2016-2017 hunting seasons for reporting the harvest of deer and turkeys. The goal of Sykes’s tour is to make the transition as easy as possible. More than 20 public seminars are planned across the state through the summer (some have already been held) and early fall. Visit www.outdooralabama.com/game-checkseminar-series for the current schedule. “We need people to understand what Game Check is and why we’re doing it,” Sykes said. “The Conservation Advisory Board passed Game Check unanimously. The Department (Conservation and Natural Resources) understands there is going to be a learning curve. That is why we’re doing these seminars all over the state. There will be at least three seminars a week throughout the summer somewhere in the state. My goal is to let our hunters know why we need Game Check,” Sykes said. When Game Check was introduced three years ago, WFF decided to try the voluntary route to see if enough Alabama hunters would report their harvests. Alabama is one of only three states without mandatory harvest reporting. Unfortunately, the number of hunters who reported their harvest via Game Check was less than 5 percent during that span. “We tried voluntary reporting for three years and it didn’t work,” Sykes said. “There were 19,000 deer reported in 2013 and only 15,000 last year.” Reliable estimates indicate about 300,000 deer are harvested annually in Alabama. “That’s our guess,” Sykes said of the harvest estimate. “We need to know. It’s too important an industry to the state ($1.8 billion economic impact), and it’s too important to the way of life to so many people for us to base everything on a guess.” Sykes said WFF surveys indicated that 77 percent of the
ways to report to Game Check: Outdoor Alabama App www.outdooralabama.com/gamecheck 1-800-888-7690.
ALABAMA FORESTS | Summer 2016
respondents don’t oppose a mandatory Game Check system, but still has to debunk some of the rumors that were previously spread about the program. “Some people are under the impression that if they give us the data we’re going to take something away from them,” Sykes said. ”That’s the furthest thing from the truth. If we find we have more deer than we think, if we’re not killing as many as we think, we possibly can give them more hunting opportunities. We just don’t have enough data now to make that call.” Compliance with Game Check is available in three ways. Hunters can use the Outdoor Alabama App, go online at www.outdooralabama.com/game-check-seminar-series or call 1-800-888-7690. Information required to Game Check a harvest includes the date of harvest, the type of animal (deer or turkey), sex of deer and age of gobbler (adult or jake), county of harvest, public or private land and a hunting license or H.E.L.P. (Hunter Exempt License Privilege) number. “From the three years of the voluntary Game Check, phone reporting was about 50-percent unreliable because it allows more room to import faulty data. We offer it for people who don’t have internet access. But we strongly encourage everybody who has internet to get the app or go online,” Sykes said. While Game Check will allow WFF biologists and the public to monitor harvests on a near real-time basis, Sykes said the best information will come a few years down the road. “We’re not expecting anything significant for two to three years,” he said. “We don’t want one bad season to impact any decisions. You may have bad weather or where gas is $4 a gallon again and people aren’t traveling as much to hunt. I would love to have five years of data to look at and see what the harvest number is doing, see what participation is doing, so we can make sound management decisions.” Sykes doesn’t know how many hunters will embrace participation in the program but he is optimistic. “Georgia instituted mandatory reporting during turkey season, and they’re estimating they got about 45-percent compliance this year. That’s huge. Right now, we’re only sampling hunters that have a license, which isn’t that many, unfortunately. With Game Check, everybody who hunts will be sampled. It should blow the database through the roof,” he said.
FORES FORESTRY F ORESTR TRY RY SOLUTIONS SO S SOL OL LUTIONS UT T ONS T AT TH THA AT MEET MEET M YOUR YOU Y O RO OUR OB OBJECTIV OBJECTIVES. BJE ECTIV VES VES. S. Fifty Fifty ifty Years Year Y ears ear rs and a d Growing an Grro Gr owin wing g www.fwforestry.net www.ffwf wfor orestry or est stry y.net ett BROCK MA MAY AY Y Hamilton, AL 205.952.9369
TT.R. .R. CLARK LaFayette, AL 334.864.9542
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So what are the penalties if you don’t report? Violations of the Game Check reporting system are currently listed on the Administrative Office of Courts fine list as a suggested $50 fine with equal court costs ($100 total). However some judges may depart from those recommendations depending on the county location. s ALABAMA FORESTS | Summer 2016
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Index to Advertisers AFA & AFFILIATED PROGRAMS AFA Advertising s 334-481-2120 .......................18 AFA Annual Meeting s alaforestry.org ..................4 AFA Hunting Insurance s alaforestry.org ............36 Prescribed Fire s firstname.lastname@example.org ............12
FOREST PRODUCT MANUFACTURERS Cooper/T.Smith s coopertsmith.com .....Back Cover Jasper Lumber Company s jasperlumber.com ....33 INSURANCE ForestFund s alaforestry.org...............................16 The Witherington Insurance Group s witheringtoninsurance.com.....................35
AGRICULTURAL LENDING Alabama Land Banks Associations s AlabamaAgCredit.com...............................6 LANDOWNERS (COMPANIES, INDIVIDUALS First South Farm Credit â€“ South Division & TRUSTS) s firstsouthfarmcredit.com.........................22 Westervelt Company s westervelt.com ..............33 CONSULTANTSâ€”FORESTRY LOGGING CONTRACTORS F&W Forestry Services s fwforestry.net..............35 Browder & Sons Veneer Co. ..................................35 Larson & McGowin s larsonmcgowin.com..........18 Mid-Star Timber Harvesting, Inc. DEALERS â€“ WOOD SUPPLIERS s midstartimber.com..................................33 Choctaw Land & Timber LOGGING EQUIPMENT s choctawlandandtimber.com....................36 Thompson Tractor EQUIPMENT SUPPLIER s thompsontractor.com ......Inside Front Cover Four Star Freightliner SEEDLINGS s fourstarfreightliner.com ..........................12 ArborGen LLC s arborgen.com............................21 FINANCIAL SERVICES International Forest Company Trustmark Bank s trustmark.com .......................36 s interforestry.com.......................................2 Rayonier s rayonier.com.....................................21 FORESTRY EDUCATION Weyerhaeuser s weyerhaeuser.com ...................33 Alabama Forests Forever Whitfield Farms & Nursery s alaforestry.org ..................Inside Back Cover s whitfieldpineseedlings.com ....................35 Forestry Continuing Education s alaforestry.org/cfe ...................................28 UTILITIES Project Learning Tree s plt.org............................30 Southern Loggers Cooperative s southernloggers.com...............................21
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