2 | BANGOR DAILY NEWS | Friday | October 21, 2011
Chester logger selectively harvests trees to benefit Maine forest By Brian Swartz CUSTOM PUBLICATIONS EDITOR
Five or six days a week, Andy Ward awakens at 3:30 a.m. “I putter around the house for a while, getting some things done, then I leave for work,” he says. “I get here around 5:30 to 6 [a.m.] right now,” Ward says, referring to his workplace — which on this particular autumn morning stretches between A Road and C Road off Route 116 in Woodville. Ward’s a logger who operates mechanized harvesting equipment for Chester-based Treeline Inc., owned by Brian Souers. The 51year-old Ward has worked for Treeline since mid-August 1990, but like so many other Maine loggers, his woods-related career began in his 20s (and often earlier for some loggers). By mid-morning on this particular day, Ward has already twitched logs to the C Landing with a Cat 525 grapple skidder. By day’s end, he will operate a delimber to trim and stack the twitched logs, then relocate to B Road to start opening another section of forest with a 753G John Deer feller-buncher equipped with an 18-inch G.N. Roy felling head. Commuting from his Chester home, Ward beat the sunrise to the 395-acre site owned by Maine Land Inc., a Treeline subsidiary. Like the other Treeline employees, he will work long hours to harvest wood fiber needed by Maine mills. On this particular tract, Ward practices selective harvesting; he
BDN PHOTOS BY BRIAN SWARTZ
Employed by Treeline Inc., logger Andy Ward of Chester (above, left) operates mechanized harvesting equipment at different harvest sites in the upper Penobscot Valley. While working recently in Woodville, Ward twitched logs from the forest with a Caterpillar 525 grapple skidder (above) and later “trimmed” the branches from those trees with a delimber (below).
culls marketable trees and undesirable trees so that young, healthy trees can thrive. As Ward opens the dense forest canopy, additional sunlight will reach the forest floor and cause the remaining trees to grow faster. Souers describes the tract as “a mixed wood stand” covered by cedar, desirable hardwoods, fir, hemlock, and spruce. “This is a piece [of woodland] that’s going to be under long-term management,” Souers explains his land-management strategy. “We’re doing a very careful selective harvest and thinning, setting it up for an 8-to-10year [harvest] cycle.” To accomplish this particular style of selective harvesting, Ward
Contents Logger from Chester practices selective harvesting . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 The “Hub of Hardwood” lies in the Passadumkeag forest . . . . . .4-5 Forestry-related firms need proper insurance coverage . . . . . . .6-7 FCC narrowbanding rules will affect Maine loggers in 2013 . . .8-9 Insect pests dine a la carte on Maine Christmas trees . . . . . . .10-12 Caribou Software helps loggers track business expenses . . . . . . .14 Loggers harvested more than 70,000 cords on state woodlands . .15 Guilford logger discusses challenges encountered in 2011 . . .16-17 Abbot harvest will accomplish landowner’s goals . . . . . . . . . .18-19 Forest-dwellers find food and “love” in Maine’s vernal pools . . . .20 Nortrax sells and services John Deere forestry equipment . . . . . .22 Freightliner, Western Star introduce new heavy-duty trucks . . . .24 Certified Logging Professional program turns 20 in 2011 . . . . . .26 Rudman Winchell works with forest-products businesses . . . . . .27 Customer demand fuels growth in wood-pellets manufacturing .28 CB Kenworth supplies the trucks sought by Maine loggers . .29-30 University of Maine at Fort Kent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31 Forest ranger takes 1st place in Regional “Game of Logging” . . . .32
cuts trees that some logging contractors might consider not worth harvesting, usually due to boll thickness or tree height. He helped Treeline specialize in such harvesting, which requires different equipment. Take the feller-buncher’s felling head, for example. The traditional large-diameter head performed “not so well” in cutting smalldiameter trees, Ward recalls. “Brian emailed all the companies that make” felling heads and asked if any company “had a smaller head that would work.” G.N. Roy Inc. responded quickly by designing and fabricating an 18-inch felling head. The Treelineconducted field tests proved that the head worked “extremely well,” Souers says. With the G.N. Roy felling head, Ward cuts a tree at its base and sets the tree into a pile that a skidder operator will twitch to a landing. Like a gardener pulling weeds, he snips multiple smaller trees and stacks them en masse beside the trail created by the feller-buncher. Larger trees he cuts and lays down one by one. The fellerbuncher keeps a tight grip on such trees; after cutting a tall beech, Ward briefly steers the 753G John Deere to the right while the felling head tightly grips the tree trunk. For a brief moment, the upright beech seems to be “walking” through the forest; then Ward lays it aside and extends the feller-
buncher’s boom to cut another tree. Selective harvesting also involves removing larger, marketable trees, sold as higher-value logs or lower-value firewood or pulpwood. With his years of experience in the Maine woods, Ward can tell by various factors — the particular tree species, a straight or curved trunk, etc. — a tree’s potential future use. Throughout Maine, experienced loggers can look at a tree and get a good idea of its best use (hence its highest value). Today, other Treeline loggers are running feller-bunchers and skidders and delimbers at different harvest sites scattered on private and public woodlots. Ward is only one of “50 guys and one lady” employed by Treeline, he stresses. “I couldn’t do what I do without them.” Today, co-workers are nearby. Treeline Vice President Bob Bethune of Howland loads trucks
with a Barko log loader. Souers moves equipment across the tract to a new harvest site off A Road. Treeline drivers haul logs to different Maine mills. Unlike many co-workers, Ward did not grow up around Mainebased logging. Hailing from Toledo, Ohio, he studied equipment operation and timber harvesting at a Wisconsin technical school. Then “I worked in the woods in Wisconsin for 10 years” until his wife, Jane, took a position at Great Northern Nekoosa headquarters in Ohio, Ward recalls. At her job, Jane met “some really nice people” who worked for Great Northern Paper in Millinocket, Ward remembers. When Great Northern Nekoosa closed its Ohio HQ, the Wards decided to relocate to Maine “just for the bigger country, a better place to work,” Andy Ward says. Scheduling four interviews with Penobscot County logging conSee LOGGER, Page 13
BANGOR DAILY NEWS | Friday | October 21, 2011 | 3
4 | BANGOR DAILY NEWS | Friday | October 21, 2011
“Hub of Hardwood” represents Maine innovation in Passadumkeag By David M. Fitzpatrick CUSTOM PUBLICATIONS WRITER
American Forest Management is one of the largest such firms in the U.S., managing 4.5 million acres of private timberland with offices in 15 states. One office is in Passadumkeag, co-located with Madden Timberlands, the firm that handles and cuts AFM’s logs. And there are a lot of logs. The site, a sprawling landscape with towering stacks of hardwood, is on the site of the former Diamond Occidental stud mill; only one building remains, along with old foundations, but there’s plenty of activity there. “If you added what came in and came out every day, we probably handle 100,000 cord of wood that actually comes through here,” said owner Scott Madden. The yard is a central hub for AFM’s hardwood in Maine. Trucks bring wood from former Champi-
on, James River, and International Paper lands for processing, from across Maine and even some from New Hampshire. Madden handles about 27 grades of various hardwoods, and AFM ships it as far away as China. Plenty of it stays here, though. Madden pointed out a stack of cut ash destined for Peavey Manufacturing in Eddington, where it will become legendary Peavey logging tools. Between the Passadumkeag operation and the cutting he does in the woods around Maine, Madden employs 33, plus about 15 subcontractors. At the processing facility, they cut with specialized equipment, stack the logs cut to ordered lengths, and ship them out. The company has a less than 1 percent wood loss and shoots for less than that, reclaiming everything from sawdust, bark, and log ends, which all find use. Hardwood can be at a serious premium, and people are willing See MADDEN, Page 5
BDN PHOTO BY DAVID M. FITZPATRICK
Using a remote control, Scott Madden, owner of Madden Timberlands, moves a custom machine he and his crew created. The combination of a crane and an old grapple skidder has resulted in a crane that moves easily through any terrain, picks up logs, and cuts them.
BANGOR DAILY NEWS | Friday | October 21, 2011 | 5
Madden Continued from Page 4 to pay for it. Madden said some hardwood can sell for as much as $3,000 per foot. But it’s not always hardwood. Depending on client needs and the time of year, Madden handles softwoods, too. Cedar and spruce are not uncommon, and in the winter it company cuts a lot of pine. Now, Madden is about to expand into custom machinery. Loggers have often chopped up old machinery and welded it together to create new devices, but Madden is taking it to the next level. He and his crew have merged cranes with old grapple skidders, and even designed one hybrid that works by remote control. The clever invention doesn’t get stuck often and affords great versatility in the woods. “We originally built these … so that you never have to get down out of your crane, so when the operator gets up there, he can just stay there,” Madden said. He hopes to have custom hybrids ready for sale in the spring. Madden’s logging history began with his father, who began working in the woods with horses as a teenager, before the Great Depression. Scott Madden began working
BDN PHOTO BY DAVID M. FITZPATRICK
A yard worker moves logs at Madden Timberlands in Passadumkeag.
while in grammar school, hauling wood with a bulldozer. He bought his first cable skidder in 1978 and went into business, and a decade later got into mechanical logging and now runs four harvesters. Madden’s three brothers were also in the logging business, and today his son, three nephews, and two great nephews are in logging. His wife, son, and daughter-in-law work the business with him. “It’s really just a family thing,” he said. “We’ve all had our own busi-
nesses, but we’ve all worked together.” With logging so ingrained in his family, it’s no surprise Madden has great pride for the Maine logging industry. He cited things like the Master Logger Program and the Certified Logger Program as important organizations for keeping the industry topnotch. “The standards for logging are well above where they used to be,” he said. “They’ve raised the awareness of what is involved in
harvesting wood. Basically, you’ve got to do it respectfully, or you won’t have a business to come back to.” Loggers are held to standards by the industry and land owners, but under the Master Logger Program, “we hold ourselves to an independent audit … to make sure that we’re carrying out all the proper laws, the best-management practices,” he said. Madden said that Roxanne Quimby’s recent statement that major landowners in Maine are committed to a forest-products industry model that hasn’t worked in years is just not accurate. “There’s more wood here now than there was a hundred years ago,” he said. “We are growing more fiber now than we were before — it’s just in a different form.” That means smaller trees but more of them, grown more quickly. Mills are adapting well, and the model works. The answer, he says, isn’t to block off vast tracts of land for national parks; that’s the kind of thing that will damage Maine’s logging model. Future generations, he said, have more to worry about the loss of viable timberlands than the myth of overcutting. “I would say that [Quimby is] probably more dangerous to the state than any logging company we’ve ever had,” he said.
From your standpoint, there’s more to look out for than falling timber. Lumberr is an industry fraught with risks, both natural and manmade. You need an insurance compa company that understands that. Not just from an insurer’s perspective, but from yours. Acadia. We’re closer to your business. And to you. With specialists in your neighborhood ready to serve you 24/7. Visit acadiainsurance.com.
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6 | BANGOR DAILY NEWS | Friday | October 21, 2011
Proper insurance is vital for logging industry’s unique challenges By David M. Fitzpatrick BANGOR DAILY NEWS
Compared to other businesses, insurance has unique challenges in the logging world. First, logging has many segments: cutting, hauling, sawing, and more. Some companies do some or all of those. Second, logging has changed. Instead of a crew of guys with chainsaws, today they use expensive equipment such as skidders, fellerbunchers, harvesters, and delimbers. “Insurance companies spend a lot of time analyzing the equipment,” Jonathan Cross from Cross Insurance. “They want to make sure that the fire-suppression equipment is adequate.” Cover a machine with flammable wood fibers, add oil and heat, and stick in the deep Maine woods far from any 911 service, and fire is an alarming concern. Machines need fire protection, and operators need training to handle fires. Equipment loss could be devastating, especially to a small business, which could be down for weeks. Company profits and employees’ paychecks could be on the line, all with loan payments on the equipment still due. Statistically, a business will suffer from three to six times the actual claim amount in lost revenue. “It’s always in your best interest to try to avoid that claim,” Cross said. “That’s why the insurance companies do their part in providing safety and loss control services.”
BDN PHOTO BY BRIAN SWARTZ
A logging contractor must insure every bit of equipment, from a feller-buncher to a log truck hauling logs to the mill.
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They also have the usual coverage for general liability, property liability, and worker’s compensation, which all have logging-specific considerations. “Worker’s compensation is a big part of their piece,” Cross said. “As the logging contractors have transitioned from the traditional ‘logger with a chainsaw’ to now being more mechanized so the employees are sitting in the equipment… that has done a lot, safety-wise.” Ensuring that clients have all the coverage they need, and that it’s the right coverage for what they’re doing, is essential to provide the client proper asset protection. “People have three ways of handling risk,” said Jim Brown of United Insurance. “One is to avoid it. Two is to ignore it and hope that they never have a lawsuit, auto accident, or equipment fire. The third is to transfer the risk by buying insurance.” Brown said a detailed discussion with a client is key to understanding his needs, so the agent can have a clear understanding of what the client is doing and identify that valuable equipment. “The days of someone buying a chainsaw and a 20-yearold used skidder and getting into the logging business are pretty well over,” Brown said. “Now we’re talking about millions of dollars worth of equipment. It’s very important that they insure adequately.” The right safety features, such as fire-suppression systems, can lead to reduced premiums, not to mention excellent See INSURANCE, Page 7
BANGOR DAILY NEWS | Friday | October 21, 2011 | 7
Insurance Continued from Page 6 asset protection. It’s the same concept as sprinklers and smoke alarms in a home, but on a larger scale. “In 30 years, I don’t know that I’ve ever had anyone, after a loss, say that they had too much insurance,” Brown said. Along with knowing what a client is doing, Scott Austin of F.A. Peabody said getting a complete inventory of all equipment and employees is vital. “We definitely do an on-site inspection of their office and work sites,” Austin said. Subcontracting adds a new layer of challenges, because the insurance company doesn’t have control. “Our clients don’t always verify coverage when they hire on an extra truck,” Austin said. “That’s a wild card sometimes.” Usually, contractors sub out work because they’re behind the eight ball, need a job done ASAP, and forget to ask for updated
paperwork. “They just want the job done — get the wood to the mill and get paid for it so they can keep plugging,” Austin said. Recently, some big companies have begun working 24-hour shifts, which creates new insurance challenges. “Number one, the machines depreciate twice as fast,” Austin said. “Number two, they want to make sure they’re getting proper maintenance.” Insurance premiums once geared for just daytime operation has to account for these other new factors. And these aren’t cheap
items, either. “I’ve got some machines insured running 24 hours … one of them is a $450,000 grapple skidder,” Austin said. “You’re talking serious, serious money there.” Insuring can go beyond just the numbers game. One insurer, Acadia Insurance, shares its knowledge and expertise with equipment manufacturers to help create safer equipment that protects not only the employees operating it but the company’s assets. Since 1996, Acadia has shared fire- and safety-concern information with their insured customers and the region’s major dealers. “Perhaps unique to Acadia, though, we have also been sharing our investigative photos and observations with the design engineers for the equipment,” said Don Curtis, Acadia’s senior loss control consultant. In the mid-1990s, one manufacturer’s fellerbuncher was the subject of two tip-over incidents that led to major fires. Acadia shared its observations with the manufactur-
er, which led to redesigning a fueltank vent. The incidents never recurred, and hundreds of fellerbuncher operators were safer as a result. In another case, an excavatorbased delimber model had experienced several major fires. Acadia shared its evidence with the manufacturer: woody debris, such as pine needles and bark, fell into exhaust elements and ignited fires. A redesign fixed the problem. A third case involved a major fire that resulted from a heat-ruptured hydraulic hose located too close to a high-temperature exhaust; the operator had to jump eight feet to the ground to escape. Acadia’s involvement led to the manufacturer adding a heat shield between the exhaust and hydraulics, which apparently solved the problem. While insurers assist customers in controlling risk, those are very nontraditional examples. Acadia has also been involved in safety issues in other ways, working with, and listening to, its customers, its
agents, equipment dealers, service technicians, and logging-related organizations to learn more, increase safety, and decrease claims. “No process or intervention is perfect; we have had to learn from mistakes, adapt and change our efforts along the way,” said Curtis. “Listening is as important for me and my colleagues at Acadia as it is for those with whom we hope to cooperate for safety improvements.” Maine’s logging economy covers many people: the land owners, the tree planters, the cutters, the truck drivers, the millwrights, the artisans, and more — from companies that deal with wood to those who sell it in retail channels. “We need to be encouraging the logging industry,” Cross said. “The reason why we’re sitting here in Bangor today is because of the logging industry … We should be encouraging the loggers, the cutter, the land manger, the mills — we need it to help sustain the economy.”
We know our way around the Maine woods.
Bangor Savings Bank is proud to support Forest Products Week in Maine. With a Maine lumberman as one of our founders, we’ve always appreciated the role of the forest products industry in our state. Our support only continues to grow. www.bangor.com
8 | BANGOR DAILY NEWS | Friday | October 21, 2011
Loggers are among private businesses affected by narrowbanding By David M. Fitzpatrick CUSTOM PUBLICATIONS WRITER
Public-safety groups know about narrowbanding, but private businesses that use two-way radios seem to still be lagging about this major change with a Jan. 1, 2013 deadline. If they don’t get all their ducks in a row now, they’re likely to find themselves slapped with FCC fines. Born of a need for more channels, narrowbanding is a federal mandate to convert communications frequencies from the 25 KHz range to 12.5 KHz. In Maine, there are plenty of available channels, but in larger areas, such as New York City, they’re out of them. We all have to do it the same way, so everyone must convert. (And this is the first of two steps. The second will likely come in 2018, when the band will narrow again to 6.25 KHz. That switch will be very easy once you’ve done this round to 12.5 KHz.) Many private businesses using FCClicensed two-way radios seem unaware of this requirement. Any company using twoway radios must upgrade its license and
convert its radios. Radios are a vital part of working in the Maine woods, where cell-phone towers and signal strength are mighty scarce — but instant communications are vital for safety and ease of operation. Two-way radios are important whether you’re working a harvester in the deep woods, hauling logs to sawmills or lumber from them, or just communicating with your sawmill crew. Regardless of your company’s size, if you use two-ways, you must convert to narrowband. And Maine, like many northern border states, has an extra challenge. Because the airwaves between the U.S. and Canada overlap, some licensees in Maine have to get approval not just from the FCC but from the Canadian equivalent. If you use radios just north of Bangor, beyond the so-called “Line A” — and many loggers certainly do — you need approval through both governments. Here, the extra red tape really slows things down. It will take about four to six weeks to upgrade your existing license, even if CanaSee RADIO, Page 9
BDN PHOTO BY BRIAN SWARTZ
Loggers working in the Maine woods face a Jan. 1, 2013 deadline to comply with new narrowbanding guidelines mandated by the Federal Communications Commission.
Radio Continued from Page 8
da is in the mix. (New licenses take six to 18 months, so if you’re a new business, you really need to get moving.) “With red tape going through Canada, it slows it down a lot,” said John Kingsbury, owner of Whitten’s 2-Way Service in Brewer. “You’ve got to jump through a lot of hoops to get it through Canada,” Kingsbury commented. Kingsbury said he’s seeing many businesses waiting as long as they can to spend the money, and in fact knows of many that just won’t do it. “I have heard from some business customers that, due to the narrowband conversion, they will most likely not convert their radios and will stop using radios on January 1, 2013,” Kingsbury said. Such customers hope to rely on cell phones. That won’t fly in the expansive Maine woods, and it isn’t a viable option when multiple people have to have one conversation. “I also believe that some users will use radios unconverted to narrowband and take the chances on getting in trouble with the
BANGOR DAILY NEWS | Friday | October 21, 2011 | 9
FCC,” Kingsbury said. “And some customers are still just hearing about the narrowband mandate — which is a little troubling, as we have tried to make a point on notifying all of our customers,” he said. So did the Maine Emergency Management Agency, which sent out notices to all FCC-license holders in Maine in 2010 (because the FCC hasn’t, and won’t). That spurred many into action, but there are still plenty of unconverted entities left. Kingsbury noted that conversions are picking up; he’s converting about one public-safety department per week at this point. But he’s also noticed the FCC is getting slower on applications — probably the result of too many late conversions. Risking fines and a lack of communications isn’t the answer. Here’s what you need to do: Upgrade your license. It will cost about $80 to upgrade your FCC license. You also need to upgrade your Canadian license, if you need one. Reprogram your radios. If your radios are less than 10 years old, they’re probably programmable and can easily convert to the 12.5 KHz frequencies. Check with your radio dealer to be sure.
Replace old radios. If your radios are old enough that they can’t handle the new narrowband channels, they’ll have to be replaced. This can be costly, and is more of a reason
to not wait until the last minute. If you haven’t converted yet, don’t wait any longer, or your company may find itself without the ability to talk to the outside world — and slapped with big FCC fines.
BDN PHOTO BY BRIAN SWARTZ
Located on Route 6 in Dover-Foxcroft, the Pleasant River Lumber Co. annually produces 85 million board feet of spruce dimension lumber. The company is a major employer in Piscataquis County.
10 | BANGOR DAILY NEWS | Friday | October 21, 2011
Growers and insect pests wage war over perfect Christmas trees By Brian Swartz SPECIAL SECTIONS EDITOR
What people decorate, bugs eat. Consider the balsam fir, for many Mainers the quintessential Christmas tree. Growing on a tree farm, the beautiful balsam fir transitions from seedling to shaped tree to holiday décor replete with glowing lights and attractive decorations. Such an easy life, growing amidst Mother Nature’s abundance … Not so fast. For multiple bugs, that balsam fir or Douglas fir or Fraser fir represents life in the fastfood lane, a coniferous Motel 6 with dine-in privileges. Long before a Christmas tree reaches marketable size in Maine, tree growers wage war with insect pests seeking shelter and food on that same tree. The same problem plagues trees that provide “brush” for Christmas wreaths.
The good, the bad, and the ugly
According to Charlene Donahue, a forest entomologist with the Maine Forest Service’s Insect & Disease Laboratory in Augusta, many insects live in wild Christmas trees, albeit not simultaneously. Collectively, the bug species could be described as “the good, the bad, and the ugly.”
“Bad boys, bad boys”
Let’s talk about “the bad” first, especially any bug with “balsam” in its name. • Balsam twig aphid. Described by Donahue as a “chronic problem” on Maine tree farms, this particular aphid lays eggs on balsam fir twigs. Hatching in the spring, the nymphs feed on existing growth, then feed inside opening buds. Later aphid generations feed on new balsam needles. While not lethal to a host tree, twig-aphid activity curls and twists new needles and sometimes stunts tree growth, leaving a tree aesthetically unattractive. The balsam twig
After hatching in the spring, the balsam twig aphid feeds on balsam fir needles and causes them to curl and twist. This creates an unappealing appearance on an otherwise marketable Christmas tree.
The female Eastern spruce gall adelgid covers herself with a white, waxy material while wintering on the twigs of a spruce tree. Her eggs hatch into nymphs that feed on the twigs and cause a swelling (or gout).
aphid infests balsam fir, Fraser fir, spruces, and white fir. Donahue indicated that tree growers should control balsam twig aphids “only on trees going to market in the next two years.” Mechanically “shearing” or trimming affected branches eliminates the aphids and properly shapes a tree. Growers can also treat trees with specific pesticides. • Balsam gall midge. “These are tiny orange insects that fly in the springtime,” Donahue said. Midges lay eggs on new shoots in mid- to late July, according to the Maine Forest Service. The larvae feed at the bases of new needles, which then encase the larvae while growing. This case is a “gall” or swelling; a badly infested tree loses most existing needles and also loses its value as a Christmas tree or wreath source. The balsam gall midge “comes in cycles” that erupt every seven years, although the
last serious infestation occurred in 1999, Donahue said. High populations were discovered in 2010, especially Down East, she indicated. The gall midge affects balsam fir and Fraser fir. Growers can apply specific pesticides to control the balsam gall midge. Donahue recommended that growers avoid spraying until “the foliage is elongated” and “the current year’s needles have flared out.” Fortunately, a “good” midge feeds on balsam gall midge larvae. As the latter’s numbers increase, so does the prey species, which gradually eliminates enough gall midge larvae so that populations crash for a few years. • Balsam shootboring sawfly. Emerging in early spring, this fly lays eggs inside an unopened fir bud. The larvae hatch inside the bud and feed there, ultimately causing fir shoots to die after turning brown. Infesting balsam fir and Fraser fir, the bal-
sam shootboring sawfly particularly damages the latter tree. Although it does not kill its host, the sawfly leaves “damage [that] looks similar to frost damage,” Donahue said. Secure inside unopened fir buds, sawfly larvae evade destruction by pesticides. The Maine Forest Service recommends that tree growers apply specific pesticides to control the emerging adult flies. • Balsam wooly adelgid. A cousin, the hemlock wooly adelgid, has received extensive attention since “invading” southern Maine hemlock stands in 1999. This Japanese pest has spread north and east into the Midcoast. The balsam wooly adelgid has also immigrated to Maine, and “entire stands of mature balsam as well as understory have been killed in many areas,” with “the heaviest damage” occurring “within 30 miles of the coast,” according to an MFS brochure. Landowners harvest such trees during salvage operations; the trees are often chipped and sold as biomass. “Sensitive to cold temperatures,” the balsam wooly adelgid has fortunately existed in “low populations” for the past few years, Donahue said. While feeding on a fir twig or bud, the adelgid injects chemicals that cause the host tree to spur cell growth and create a swelling (a gout) at the affected site. The gout can kill a twig by choking its vascular system; heavy infestations can kill so many twigs and limbs that a tree ultimately dies. Even a lighter infestation weakens a tree and ruins its aesthetic appeal. According to Donahue, although “these adelgids aren’t as mobile” as the hemlock wooly adelgid, the balsam version “is not an easy insect to control. It is a very small sucking insect” that has left “the fir along the coast … heavily infested.” • Eastern spruce gall adelgid. Not even the lowly spruce can escape an adelgid infestaSee CHRISTMAS, Page 11
BANGOR DAILY NEWS | Friday | October 21, 2011 | 11
Christmas Continued from Page 10
tion. Like its balsam and hemlock cousins, the female Eastern spruce gall adelgid spends the winter attached to a host tree’s twigs, then covers itself with a white, waxy material. A maturing female adelgid lays her eggs inside this material, the hatching nymphs feed on the adjacent twig material, and a swelling (or gout) forms at the affected site. According to Donahue, tree growers can use specific pesticides to control the Eastern spruce gall adelgid in early May. Dormant oil can be applied at appropriate times, too. • Cooley spruce gall adelgid . Infesting Douglas fir and blue spruce, this adelgid also causes galls to develop on host trees, ruining their aesthetic appeal and causing needles to turn yellow and twist. Mechanical shearing removes unsightly galls, and tree
The Cooley spruce gall adelgid causes galls to develop on blue spruce and Douglas fir trees. The galls ruins a tree’s aesthetic appeal.
Elongate hemlock scale, a Japanese import, feeds on hemlock needles and gradually turns them yellow. Tree limbs die; so does the host tree. This insect pest appeared in southern Maine aboard landscape trees imported from southern New England, where elongate hemlock scale causes major headaches for Christmas tree growers.
growers can spray infested tree with specific pesticides in the spring, before the spruce buds open. Donahue indicated that growers can help stop this adelgid from
spreading by planting blue spruce and Douglas fir some distance apart.
• Spruce spider mites. These exceedingly small insects lay eggs that hatch each spring. “The six-
legged larvae feed on foliage and can reach maturity within a week,” an MFS brochure reports. Feeding larvae cause “tiny chlorotic flecks” to appear on needles, “and the foliage appears mottled,” the brochure indicates. “Damaged needles may dry up and drop off. Christmas trees may be severely damaged by this mite.” According to Donahue, extremely dry weather spurs spruce spider-mite growth, but natural predators often keep this insect pest under control. Tree growers can treat affected trees with Kelthane or Lorsban. • White pine weevil. Landowners who raise white pines are familiar with this weevil, which the MFS calls “the most serious economic insect pest of white pine.” The weevil attacks only a tree’s leaders (the highest branches) and kills them as the weevil’s grubs tunnel beneath the bark. If not removed, dead leaders can stunt a white pine’s growth. A weevil-damaged pine will create a new See INSECTS, Page 12
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12 | BANGOR DAILY NEWS | Friday | October 21, 2011
Insects Continued from Page 11 leader, which could grow crookedly and reduce the tree’s value for saw logs. White pine weevils “are pretty endemic to the State of Maine,” Donahue said, but tree growers can cut and destroy infected leaders; the healthy tissue below the “cut” often develops a new leader that grows straight. Donahue indicated that growers can control weevils by applying Dimilin to a tree’s leaders in April or May; the MFS reports that Dibrom, Lorsban, and Talstar are also registered white-pine weevil pesticides. The weevil does not affect pines after they reach 16 to 18 feet in height, according to the Maine Forest Service. This weevil also affects blue spruce, jack pine, Norway spruce, and Scotch pine.
Ugly as sin
At least two insect pests rate as “ugly” due to their appearance on host trees. Insects are insects, but these bugs, collectively called “scale,” certainly aren’t pretty. • Elongate hemlock scale. Another Japanese import, this insect “is now considered one of the major pests in southern New England Christmas tree farms,” Donahue said. She described the species as “very easy to move,” which explains how the elongate hemlock scale reached Maine: aboard landscape trees planted in southern Maine. State entomologists confirmed the hemlock scale’s presence in Cape Elizabeth, Kennebunk, and Kennebunkport in August and September 2009 and in Kittery and Old Orchard Beach in November 2010. Estimating that the hemlock scale arrived in Maine 10 years ago, Donahue indicated the pest “has spread to native trees,” but not into any Christmas tree plantations that “we know of.” According to a “Pest Alert” issued by the United States Department of Agriculture, after elongate hemlock-scale eggs hatch, “the crawlers … settle beneath the thin, waxy
Among the “good” insects that feed on the pests infesting Maine-grown Christmas trees are the green lacewing (above), whose larvae feed on aphids and mites, and the lady beetle (right), which also dines on aphids. The Maine Forest Service has released a particular lady beetle to combat the hemlock wooly adelgid.
cuticle on the lower surface of the youngest hemlock needles and begin to feed.” A crawler “removes fluids from the mesophyll cells through piercing and sucking mouthparts.” The crawlers, nymphs, and adults appear as dark or light splotches on hemlock needles, which turn yellow and “drop prematurely,” the USDA reports. “Dieback of major limbs” gradually occurs, and “trees often die within the next 10 years.” Predator bugs, such as the aphelinid parasitoid and twice-stabbed ladybird beetle, feed on elongate hemlock scale. Specific pesticides can control hemlock scale, too, but careless application can wipe out predator populations. • Cryptomeria scale. Any bug with the word “crypt” in its name can’t be friendly; fortunately, this insect pest “has not yet been confirmed in southern Maine,” Donahue said. Able to live in “multiple conifer hosts,”
cryptomeria scale causes needles to turn yellow.
The good guys Fortunately for Christmas tree growers (and buyers), many “good” insects inhabit Christmas trees and feed on the pests. Donahue described the “good” insects as “predators,” a definition based on their feeding on other bugs. Among the good guys are: • Lady beetles. Often viewed as pests when they attempt to move indoors each fall, lady beetles eat “soft-bodies insects,” such as aphids, Donahue said. In spring 2010, the Maine Forest Service released a particular lady beetle, Sasajiscymnus tsugae, in Saco and York to combat the hemlock wooly adelgid. Measuring 2 millimeters in length, this lady beetle eats adelgid adults, eggs, and larvae. According to Donahue, the lady beetles will never eliminate the hemlock wooly adelgid, but as beetle numbers increase, less adelgid will sur-
vive to attack non-infested hemlocks. • Lacewings. After hatching, lacewing larvae feed on aphids and mites. The larvae have voracious appetites. • Predatory mites. These tiny insects feed on spider mites, aphids, and scale insects. • Spiders. The same brown-recluse spider or wolf spider that might send children shrieking into the house eats other insects, including those infesting Christmas trees. Many spider species exist in Maine, and wherever spiders spin their webs between balsam or fir branches, insect pests are caught. “Spiders are good,” Donahue said. “They eat insects.” • Praying mantises. These stick-like green insects “often feed at night,” so Christmas tree growers are not always aware of “the good they’re doing,” Donahue said. • Parasites. This category includes flies and wasps, many so tiny that a microscope best photographs them. According to Donahue, parasites lay their eggs on other insects, including insect pests; the hatching larvae then feed on the host bugs. “They kill lots of insects,” she said, referring to parasites. Donahue mentioned one parasite that lay its eggs on voracious Japanese beetles.
Various management techniques help Christmas tree growers control destructive insects. Donahue recommended that growers employ “non-chemical” techniques first, such as: • Pruning infested limbs or twigs; • Thinning tree stands; • Controlling weeds, which can shelter insects; • Mowing, which also reduces insect shelter. She described “chemical control” as “a last resort” that often works well. However, as indicated by MFS literature about insect pests and how to control them, tree growers must apply the correct pesticide in minimal quantities, Donahue indicated.
BANGOR DAILY NEWS | Friday | October 21, 2011 | 13
Logger Continued from Page 2 tractors, Ward met such people as Bill Gardner and Harold Bouchard — with whom he spent a day touring harvesting operations along the Golden Road and elsewhere — before being referred to Brian Souers. “I waited for him to return from working in the woods,” Ward says, smiling at the memory. “We talked for about an hour and then went out in the woods to meet the guys.” Ward offered Treeline his experience as a skilled logger; Treeline offered Ward “steady work, health insurance, and different types of equipment [that] I could run,” he says. In mid-August 1990, Ward reported to Treeline and “went up on the Golden Road” at the time when GNP was shifting from corporate to private woods crews. “I worked only one day there,” he says. For the next 17 years, Ward ran his own skidder while working for Treeline. Including a 518 Caterpillar and a 540B John Deere, he owned three skidders, “one at a time,” he says. Three months after Ward started logging in Maine, Jane brought their two children, Cullen and Laura, to Lincoln, where the family rented a house for three years. The Wards then “built a house on the river in Chester” and raised their children there, Andy Ward says. Over the years, he worked at many places, from Mount Chase to Maine Public Reserved Lands around Nahmakanta Lake. Cullen and Laura attended Lincoln
BDN PHOTOS BY BRIAN SWARTZ
After cutting a beech tree with a 753G John Deere feller-buncher (above), logger Andy Ward lifts the tree and briefly carries it through the woods (right) before laying it beside his twitch path.
schools and graduated from Mattanawcook Academy, and Jane worked for different companies; she now works for Prentiss & Carlisle. “Trying to meet people was hard,” Ward says, recalling his early years with Treeline Inc. About four years ago, Andy Ward shifted to running Treelineowned harvesting equipment, including the feller-buncher and delimber. He often works Monday to Saturday — depending on Maine’s notoriously fickle weather, of course — and his work year typically encompasses 45 weeks. Logging operations often shut down for mud season (Maine’s unofficially fifth season), so “you need to earn 52 weeks of pay in those 45 weeks,” Ward says. “When I had the skidder, every day you could work, you had to work.” With the John Deere fellerbuncher, Ward does not travel as far through the woods as he would
if driving a skidder. He described operating the feller-buncher as “more challenging” than running a skidder: “You can track, cut, and lift all at the same time with the hydraulics on it,” he explains, referring to the feller-buncher. “Being able to do two things at one time is pretty neat. “I have to cut my way in[to the woods] and set the trees aside,” Ward says, noting that he stacks trees “to the right, not the left. “You have to be picking and choosing [trees] as you go,” he says. “It’s interesting work.” Except for a short lunch break, Ward remains in the feller-buncher’s cab, working hours at a stretch as he harvests trees. He admitted that “it’s pretty boring sitting there in a box without anyone to talk to. It’s like sitting in your car all day, and you don’t get out.” Yet Ward cannot imagine working elsewhere. “Out here I’ve always been comfortable,” he
explains. “I like this, doing physical work; it’s always been comfortable. I can support my family here; I can make my living here.” As to what still attracts him to the forest, Ward responds, “The change in the forest every day, and it’s got to be the people I work with that keeps me here. We’re constantly on the move. Everywhere I go is new.” Away from timber harvesting, “family is No. 1,” Ward says. “We like to walk the dog and ride our bikes near the house. We like to go fishing on the [Penobscot] river, spending time with the kids.” He notes that after graduating from Maine Maritime Academy in 2010, Cullen now sails on commercial vessels as a marine engineer. Laura graduated from the dental hygienist program at University of Maine at Augusta-Bangor Campus. In the winter, the Wards “like to go downhill skiing,” especially at
the Big Rock Ski Area in Mars Hill, he says. Ward really, really enjoys downhill skiing; a smile touches his face as he talks about the sport. Ward anticipates that he will work in the Maine woods for years to come. He was among the first 100 or so Maine loggers who took Certified Logging Professional training; among that class were “Scott Hanington, Michael St. Peter, and Eldon Pelletier,” he recalls. By early afternoon, clouds pushed northward by an advancing cold front obscure the early autumn sunshine. Brian Souers watches as Ward harvests trees off A Road with the feller-buncher; “it’s like going into a garden and weeding it,” Souers comments. “He’s picking all the weeds to let the younger plants, in this case the younger trees, grow better. “This will be a healthier forest when we’re done,” Souers says.
14 | BANGOR DAILY NEWS | Friday | October 21, 2011
Many Maine-based logging contractors rely on Caribou Software By Richard R. Shaw Times are changing in the logging industry, and Caribou Software is leading the charge into the 21st century. Based in Hinton, Alberta, a small town with a priceless view of the Canadian Rockies, the company is a premier provider of cost accounting and management software for the logging and timber industry. Maine’s high-value hardwood businesses are catching on to the ease of tracking load tickets with Caribou programs. But some loggers still favor old-fashioned spreadsheets or a sharp pencil and a 10-key adding machine. That’s where company president Teresa Hannah and her staff use their software marketing skills. “Our software helps people keep up with load tickets, time slips, equipment expenses, and overall job costing,” Hannah said. “It’s an efficiency-enhancer for logging and trucking companies, as well as land management companies, and even small sawmills.” Founded in 2004, Caribou started out with three United States customers. That number has ballooned to nearly 100,
BDN PHOTO BY BRIAN SWARTZ
In autumn 2011, a truck driver steers his load of logs eastbound on Route 6 in Dover-Foxcroft. Logging contractors often use Caribou Software-supplied systems to track load tickets, equipment expenses, and other business activities.
accounting for about half of the company’s
clients. The rest are located mostly in forest-
rich Canada. As Caribou’s Web site says: “If your company operates heavy equipment and/or operates log trucks to deliver loads to saw and pulp mills, or if you are a wood buyer that contracts with loggers and truckers to deliver fiber to your customers, we have the software solution for you!” Caribou’s Web site is a good place to learn about the right software for your operation. Another way is to speak directly with Hannah, who will be at the Northeastern Forest Products Equipment Expo in Bangor on May 13-14. She has a world of knowledge about the Logger’s Edge office system and the handheld Suzie Logger program. In 2007, Northwoods Management, a land-management company based in Bangor, was introduced to the software. In the last five years, Caribou’s customer base has grown to 15 clients in Maine, a number that is likely to grow as word spreads of Caribou’s economical and user-friendly programs. Hannah shares testimonials of Logger’s Edge and Suzie Logger clients. Gerald Pelletier Inc. of Millinocket, featured in the Discovery Channel’s “American Loggers,” See CARIBOU, Page 21
BANGOR DAILY NEWS | Friday | October 21, 2011 | 15
Logging contractors harvested 70,600 cords on Maine state lands
BDN PHOTO BY BRIAN SWARTZ
An oak tree lifts its changing leaves skyward on stateowned land in Franklin County.
AUGUSTA — Maine’s Department of Conservation reports a near-record timber harvest on public reserved lands of 70,600 cords for the past winter season. The harvest, which was above that of recent years, is valued at approximately $2.23 million. These funds support maintenance, operations, and public access on the state lands, said Tom Morrison of the Maine Department of Conservation. The harvest involved hiring local logging contractors in 29 locations, harvesting timber across the state, and supporting more than 200 private-sector jobs, Morrison said. Logs were delivered to more than 40 Maine mills for valueadded processing. “Timber harvests on state lands are carried out by private contractors who sell to private mills,” said Gov. Paul LePage. “Our revenue goes toward managing our forests. This is about private jobs and public access to the woods for Maine people.” “We manage public lands for a combination of public access for Maine citizens, preservation of sites of intrinsic conservation values and for timber production based on a multiple-use, long-rotation and sustainable basis,” said Commissioner Bill Beardsley of the Maine Department of Conservation. “Our timber revenues bode well for future state revenues and private sector jobs.” “Our state foresters have worked hard to oversee a great winter harvest season,” said Will Harris, Maine Department of Conservation’s director of the Bureau of Parks and Lands.
“We have helped the economy and held to our forest sustainability standards. We will use the revenue we get from our timber management to maintain and increase public access to our public lands. I hope the people of Maine are pleased with our management of their forest lands.” “We’re very pleased with the outcome of this year’s timber harvest so far and proud that this harvest not only supports our Maine public reserved lands, but also is an economic benefit to our forest-products industry and our state,” Morrison said. Maine has close to 600,000 acres of public reserved lands under the management of the Maine Department of Conservation’s Bureau of Parks and Lands. Public reserved lands differ from other state-owned lands, such as state parks and historic sites, in that they are managed for multiple uses, including special protection for unique natural and historic areas, recreation, wildlife habitat and timber harvesting. Harvest operations in softwood stands also are designed to increase white tailed deer and snowshoe hare habitat, to benefit populations. “This year, we had a very successful harvest season,” said Morrison, who is a licensed professional forester as well as director of operations for the Bureau of Parks and Lands. “We had no particularly difficult weather to deal with; the mills were taking wood, and the prices were stable this year.” Morrison said the season’s winter harvest lasted from late November 2010 until March 2011. The harvest produced See STATE HARVEST, Page 21
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BANGOR DAILY NEWS | Friday | October 21, 2011 | 17
Weather, fuel prices, wood markets challenge Maine logging contractors in 2011 By Brian Swartz CUSTOM PUBLICATIONS EDITOR
When even Mother Nature won’t give you a break, you must be a Maine logging contractor. Take today, for example: What Mother Nature was supposed to deliver, she did not. At his home on a high ridge overlooking the Piscataquis River Valley in Guilford, Richard Thomas could see stars twinkling overhead before sunlight ever glimmered on the eastern horizon. Last night and this morning, the Bangor-based TV meteorologists predicted brilliant sunshine and scattered clouds. All day on local radio stations, a Weather Channel meteorologist will wax eloquently about the perfect autumn weather that Mainers are enjoying. Then exactly what are these dank, low-hanging clouds that blanketed Piscataquis County by 8 a.m.? Another trick played by Mother Nature? If so, then Thomas is used to such tricks; he owns R.A. Thomas Logging Inc. and, as so many other logging contractors have discovered, finds his work schedule adversely impacted by Mother Nature in 2011. “We was out of work pretty near four months this spring, from I’d say the middle of March ’til pretty near into July,” Thomas says. In Maine, most logging contractors usually suspend harvesting operations for several weeks until the roads and woods dry out after Mud Season. This year, Mud Season seemed never-ending by late in rain-drenched May. Too much rain fell and “kept the woods wet,” Thomas recalls. “The woods never hardened up, never dried out from the spring. Then they did dry out, I’d say from the middle of July to the middle of August, until the rain started again. “The weather’s always been a challenge for us,” Thomas says as he gazes south to where fog now envelopes distant ridges. That fog will develop into an intermittent mist later this morning. So much for Mother Nature keeping her sunshiny promise.
Practicing sustainable forestry
Thomas employs five loggers who operate mechanized harvest-
Operated by Stan Folsom and owned by R.A. Thomas Logging, a Rottne SMV eight-wheel forwarder stacks harvested logs at a landing in Piscataquis County in late September 2011.
BDN PHOTOS BY BRIAN SWARTZ
Richard Thomas has worked in the woods since, as a 10-year-old growing up on the family farm in Guilford, he ran a bark spud for his father, Clyde. Today, Thomas owns R.A. Thomas Logging Inc. and employs five loggers who mechanically harvest woodlots within a 30-to-35-mile radius of Guilford.
ing equipment: two Rottne processors, two Rottne forwarders, and a Valmet forwarder. Thomas’s crews harvest timber at sites primarily within a 30-to-35-mile radius of Guilford. “Right now, we have one job 2 miles from here and one [job] 4 miles from here,” Thomas says. He will visit the “distant” work site later today. After six decades spent working in the Maine woods, Thomas can “walk” a woodlot and quickly determine which trees should be harvested. “Forestry is basically agriculture,” he says. “You have to nurse that crop along and weed it, or you’ll get less food. In forestry, if you don’t harvest that [forest] land or thin it, you’ve shortchanged yourself and the economy. “If it’s not cut at the right time, the wood has gone by and lost its best value,” Thomas explains. “You lose the money value of your wood, and the mills lose good wood. “Fir is a fairly short-life tree. There always is a market for fir, but you want to cut it before it goes by. Then the value isn’t as good,” he says.
Thomas indicates that R.A. Thomas Logging practices sustainable forestry — and he purchases his equipment accordingly. With six rubber tires, a Rottne processor “is more environmentally friendly. You can harvest smaller wood with that. It doesn’t leave ruts.” As he works in a woodlot, a processor operator creates a trail by laying down the limbs and tops snipped from harvested trees. At the controls of an eightwheeled forwarder, another Thomas Logging employee travels along this leafy trail to load logs and transport them to a nearby woodyard. The large rubber tires found on the processor and forwarder “ride” over the terrain and do not damage the forest floor. Sustainable forestry benefits wildlife, according to Thomas. In a forest where trees crowd together and the thick overstory limits the sunlight penetrating to the forest floor, animals and birds find less food and cover. However, “you see a lot more animals where the land is harvested sustainably,” Thomas says. He explains that sustainable har-
vesting removes desirable and undesirable trees. More sunlight reaches the forest floor to stimulate growth in younger trees; such growth produces more food, from acorns on thriving oak trees to cones on fast-growing fir and spruce. Young trees also produce the lush foliage — known as “browse” — sought by Maine moose. R.A. Thomas Logging owns about 9,000 acres, all now harvested sustainably. “I started buying land when I was a sophomore in high school,” Thomas recalls. In 1972 he harvested trees on a 250-acre tract across the road and downslope from his home. Thomas has harvested trees on that acreage three more times since then, “and there’s still a good crop in there,” he says, noting that he recently purchased the large woodlot.
Logging contractors face challenging times Maine-based logging contractors face several challenges in autumn 2011. Thomas quietly states that “some of the log markets are down.
Marked with a blue “V,”, these white birch logs harvested by R.A. Thomas Logging Inc. are destined for Hardwood Products Co. LLC in Guilford.
White pine. The hardwood log market is down, too. We’re selling it, but not as much as in the past. “Oak veneer is down,” but “the birch veneer, the market’s good for that,” he comments. Described by Thomas as “a fastgrowing tree,” white birch “is everywhere” in southern Piscataquis County, and as business has picked up at nearby Hardwood Products Co. LLC in Guilford, Thomas has sent more white birch logs there. “The [white] pine, we’ve only got two places where we can sell pine logs,” he says. His crews ship spruce-fir pulpwood “directly” to Madison Paper in Madison and to a Verso Paper woodyard in DoverFoxcroft. “The housing market’s probably the biggest thing affecting the economy and logging,” Thomas says. “If we could turn things around so people were building more houses, the markets would get better. “The [price of] fuel’s been a real challenge,” Thomas says, briefly discussing how diesel prices have not tumbled as fast as gasoline prices have since late summer.
“Everybody’s been in the same boat on that.”
Finding experienced help He worries about the availability of skilled workers. “In the logging business, finding people that know what they’re doing is harder,” Thomas says. Decades ago, youngsters learned the trade while working on the family farm or with relatives who were loggers. Thomas’s first contact with logging occurred when he was 10, when his father, Clyde, “had me run a bark spud. It was all done by hand. The work was hard, but you learned about working in the woods. “Years ago, most kids in this area were in the woods, helping to get firewood,” Thomas says. “I was driving a bulldozer when I was 10to-11 years old, operating the dozer so my father and the guys working with him could put 4-foot logs on a trailer I was towing, With me driving, they didn’t have to hop on and off the bulldozer.” He remembers traveling with his father to deliver logs to Maine
paper mills, from Eastern Fine sional Logging Contractor of answer.” grandson just earned a degree in Paper in Brewer to Great Northern Maine director. “We have tried to One young logger recently forestry at Unity College and “came Paper in Millinocket. Truck- or figure how to get young people into joined R.A. Thomas Logging. to work for us. He’s out running trailer-mounted log loaders did not logging,” he says. “There’s no one Thomas proudly reveals that a equipment today.” exist; loggers loaded and unloaded logs by hand. Labor laws started changing in the late 20th century. “The new laws banned the youngsters from working around power equipment, so they could not learn how to use it,” Thomas says. “My own son, the only way legally I could have him around the equipment was to make him a partner in the business.” An experienced processor operator must be “a forester, a mechanic, know exactly what he’s cutting and its best value,” Thomas says. “If you go to the school (Piscataquis Community High) down over the hill, the kids would know how to run one of those processors, but I don’t know if they could identify the species of tree they were cutting.” Stan Folsom stands beside massive white pine logs that he transported to a Piscataquis County landing with a Thomas volunteers Rottne SMV eight-wheel forwarder owned by R.A. Thomas Logging Inc. Folsom is the brother-in-law of Richard his time as a ProfesThomas, who owns the Guilford-based business.
18 | BANGOR DAILY NEWS | Friday | October 21, 2011
Abbot harvest will meet landowner’s goals & supply Maine mills By Brian Swartz CUSTOM PUBLICATIONS EDITOR
ABBOT — Sporting a blue paint scheme, a large wheeled vehicle flashes across a road opening beneath the monochromatic ceiling that hovers over the Bates Road this early autumn morning. “That’s Stan in the forwarder,” says Richard Thomas, a master logger who owns Guilford-based R.A. Thomas Logging. He refers to his brother-in-law, Stan Folsom, and to the eight-wheeled Rottne SMV forwarder that Folsom uses to transport harvested logs from the surrounding forest. Fall colors — red leaves here, orange leaves there, fallen yellow leaves swirling in the light breeze over yonder — identify the season as Thomas visits the site where Folsom and Jim Morin are working in the rolling Abbot hills. Although gray clouds hang low overhead, the rain will hold off;
with their cut-to-length harvesting equipment, neither Folsom nor Morin would experience much difficulty working in at least a light downpour, anyways. This particular week they are opening a thick forest that grows where fields once surrounded a nearby farmhouse and outbuildings. Valuable timber will ship to various Maine mills, including Hardwood Products Co. LLC in Guilford and Hancock Lumber Co. in Pittsfield. To harvest that timber, Morin operates a six-wheeled Rottne Rapid EGS processor equipped with an MK 200 boom and a processing head. Seated in a climatized cab, he cuts individual trees and lays them aside for Folsom to retrieve with the forwarder. Before cutting a particular tree, Morin enters its species into the processor’s onboard computer. Once the processing head fells and grasps the tree, the computer “tells” the processing head where
BDN PHOTOS BY BRIAN SWARTZ
Working for R.A. Thomas Logging Inc. of Guilford, Jim Morin of Parkman (right) harvests trees in Abbot with a Rottne Rapid EGS processor (above).
to cut the tree to optimal log length. By day’s end, the computer will calculate how many logs — including their length and thickness — of each species that Morin
will cut today. As he works, Morin spreads tree limbs and tops ahead of the processor to create a leafy trail sepSee ABBOT, Page 19
Abbot Continued from Page 18 arating the machine’s rubber wheels from the forest floor. Big wheels let a processor and a forwarder move through the forest without damaging the soil. The landowner on whose property Folsom and Morin work this week has a few goals for the harvest. A 12-acre red-pine plantation stands where a field once spread beneath the Piscataquis County sky. Now at harvest height, the red pines will become utility poles, saw logs, or pulpwood; “the landowner wants it all cut and put back into field,” Thomas says. Some red pines were spray painted with light blue numbers by an employee of Prentiss & Carlisle, which will buy all the trees. The numbered trees will be converted into utility poles; “they have a nice, straight trunk that goes all the way up,” Thomas explains. Elsewhere, Morin opens an area where the landowner will later toss the red-pine stumps and roots dug up during field restoration. A previous landowner had left stumps and other woody debris near this site beneath the hill’s western crest, far from the nearby road.
BANGOR DAILY NEWS | Friday | October 21, 2011 | 19
Out of sight and out of mind, the stumps and roots will slowly rot; their nutrients will enrich the forest soil. Although some logging contractors chip stumps, limbs, and similar material as biomass fuel, R.A. Thomas Logging will not do so here; Thomas explains that leaving the biomass on the forest floor benefits “the entire forest.”
Among the trees being harvested at a logging operation in Abbot are red pines. Those painted with blue numbers are destined to become utility poles.
While Morin works, Folsom plucks felled logs with the forwarder’s RK 90 boom and grapple and stacks them on the forwarder’s attached log cradle. Once it’s full, he can
shift his seat 180 degrees and look “forward” as the machine heads to the yard, now some 150-200 yards away from the processor. See HARVEST, Page 20
BDN PHOTOS BY BRIAN SWARTZ
The cutting head of a Rottne Rapid EGS processor cuts a log from a spruce taken down at a harvesting operation in Abbot. The contractor conducting the harvest for the landowner is R.A. Thomas Logging Inc. of Guilford.
20 | BANGOR DAILY NEWS | Friday | October 21, 2011
Vernal pools are vital for forest-dwelling species • Fairy shrimp. Vernal pool-dependent organisms rely on the pool itself as well as an intact forest immediately surVernal pools provide important habitat for many rounding the pool to complete their lifecycle. Some common and specialized forestimportant habitat elements that dwelling species. Timber harvesting should be maintained within 750 activities should avoid disturbing feet of the are: high-value vernal pools and limit • Water quality; impacts to the immediate sur• Forest cover; rounding forest. • Uncompacted soil; A vernal pool is a natural, tem• Woody debris. porary to semi-permanent body of When planning a timber harvest, water occurring in a shallow look for potential vernal pools on: The blue-spotted salamander depression that typically fills dur• National Wetland Inventory (above) and the wood frog Maps, where isolated depressions ing the spring or fall and may dry (below) are two species that are designated as PUB/POW (open during the summer. Vernal pools breed in Maine vernal pools. water), PSS (shrub swamp), PFO are small (usually less than an acre), have no permanent inlet, and (forested wetland), or PEM have no viable populations of (marsh); predatory fish. • Aerial photographs (large scale, In Maine, vernal pools are also color infrared taken with the leaves defined by the animals that use off the trees are best); them for breeding, including the • USGS topographical maps following indicate species: (look for depressions and indica• Spotted salamander; tions of wetlands). • Blue spotted salamander; In early spring, vernal pools can be identified by • Wood frog; See VERNAL POOLS Page 25 By Maine Forest Service
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Harvest Continued from Page 19 At the yard, Folsom lifts logs from the cradle and places them onto species-specific piles. Spruce, fir, and even some hemlock will go for pulpwood; three white-birch logs painted with large Vs (for “veneer”) will go to Columbia Forest Products in Presque Isle. Other white-birch logs will go to Hardwood Products Co. LLC. Richard Thomas knows what wood each mill needs. “I do all my own marketing,” he says. “There’s a market for just about everything.” Not far away on another rural road, Thomas pulls off and parks near a metal gate he has installed across a woods road accessing his adjacent land. “I don’t post my land, never have,” he says, but folks have illegally dumped old appliances, furniture, and other trash on some of his land, and “it’s expensive to clean up,” he says. Once Thomas installs another
post, he will lock the gate so no scofflaw can drive a trash-laden pickup or SUV onto the property. The woods road runs to a landing that his crew used a few years ago while thinning an adjacent 25-acre spruce plantation. The remaining spruce trees stand tall against the glowering sky; ground-level stumps and piled limbs mark where other trees were harvested. “We took about 10 cords an acre out of here,” Thomas says while walking the woodlot. He’s obviously proud of what his loggers accomplished here. “We thinned it so the stand can grow [for] another 15 years. Then we can come back and cut it again. We’re growing a new crop of trees by harvesting the already valuable trees,” he says. “The tops were starting to touch,” Thomas says, flicking his gaze upward as he stands beside a straight-boled spruce. “When the tops start to touch, the trees really slow down in their growing. By managing this [woodlot] right, we can get a regular crop off it.”
Caribou Continued from Page 14 uses the handheld on its harvesting jobs for Northwoods. Mary Keegan of Thompson Trucking Inc., based in Lincoln, a veteran of the logging business, immediately took to Caribou’s software. “... When it came time to pass the business on to the next generation,” Keegan stated in a spring 2010 edition of The Northern Logger & Timber Processor magazine, “we realized we needed a data-tracking system that allowed us to monitor production, costs and revenue carefully on a weekly and monthly basis.” The Thompsons adopted the Logger’s Edge system
State harvest Continued from Page 15 approximately 11,000 cords more than last year’s harvest, he said. “The timber was cut for a variety of production uses, ranging from biomass, pulp, saw and veneer logs,” Morrison noted. He said that 51 percent was used for pulp wood; 37 percent for saw logs; and 12 percent for biomass. The 29 harvesting contracts were based on the sale of stumpage, Morrison said, and the various opera-
BANGOR DAILY NEWS | Friday | October 21, 2011 | 21
and use it to track everything from load tickets to employee time sheets to equipment expenditures and maintenance costs. With production and hourly information in one system, Keegan can run reports from the system that show logging costs by phase of operation on each job site harvested, and she can track those costs on a per ton or per cost basis. Lincoln-based Robin Crawford and Son Co. Inc. also uses Logger’s Edge to track load tickets and streamline the trucker and crew payment process as well as revenue reconciliation. Crawford estimates they have shaved at least two days off the time spent on the paperwork prior to signing up with Caribou. It’s success stories like these that have put Caribou at the top of its field. tions covered 500- to 2,000-acre harvest areas. Some larger-scale harvests took place at Osborn, Eagle Lake, Andover West Surplus Township, and at Indian Pond near Chamberlain Lake. The BPL is required by statute to manage public reserved lands, in terms of timber harvesting, to produce a sustainable yield, Morrison said. An “annual allowable cut” has been established at 115,000 cords for the 400,000 acres of operable timberland on these lands. Because BPL manages the public reserved lands for multiple uses, the bureau’s foresters develop prescriptions for exactly what can be cut, the director said.
BDN PHOTO BY BRIAN SWARTZ
A “moose catcher” installed on the nose of a logging truck hints at one hazard of the trade for truckers moving chips and logs to market in Maine.
A firm that sees the forest, the trees, and your path forward. For decades Rudman Winchell has been a trusted partner in the representation of the timber industry and other natural resource based enterprises. We have worked at the center of many of the dynamic changes that have altered the character of doing business in the Maine woods. Services • Purchase, sale and development of timberlands • Stumpage, Chip mill, and pulpwood supply and harvest contracts • Zoning and land use permitting Subdivision approvals
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22 | BANGOR DAILY NEWS | Friday | October 21, 2011
Nortrax stores sell and service John Deere forestry equipment By Brian Swartz CUSTOM PUBLICATIONS EDITOR
John Deere, phone home! With John Deere telemetrics, a logging contractor or a service technician will soon be able to “talk” to Deere forestry equipment deep in the Maine woods. This ability could potentially prevent “catastrophic [equipment] failure” and reduce maintenance-related downtime, said Kevin Fowler, general manager of the Nortrax stores in Bangor, Houlton, and Fort Kent. John Deere owns Nortrax, which sells and services Deeremanufactured forestry equipment, including: • Cut-to-length harvesting systems (harvesters and forwarders); • Feller-bunchers; • Cable and grapple skidders; • Swing machines, including delimbers; • Knuckleboom loaders. According to Fowler, “Deere’s commitment to the forestry market has been huge over the years. Deere and its dealer organizations are totally committed to the industry, to the contractors, and to the landowners. That commitment means we are constantly updating our equipment as technology evolves.” Deere has already introduced telemetrics in its agricultural equipment; with new Deere forestry equipment, “telemetrics is in play,” Fowler said. He explained that in a telemetrics-equipped Deere harvester, for example, computer-controlled sensors monitor different machine functions. Telemetrics “is a way of the dealer and the [equipment] owner being able to dial into that machine and tell how it’s doing” based in information provided by the computer, Fowler said.
Among the John Deere forestry equipment sold and serviced by Nortrax at its stores in Bangor, Fort Kent, and Houlton are the 1270E harvester (above) and the 2154D forestry swing machine, equipped with a delimber (below).
From an office or computer terminal many miles away, a logging contractor or service tech could determine service intervals, check pre-failure codes, and obtain information about the machine’s daily production and fuel consumption. “In the near future, this will all be available via GPS,” Fowler said. “It’s looked at as preventive
The John Deere 1910E forwarder is popular with loggers who appreciate the machine’s ergonomically friendly cabin.
maintenance. The [equipment] operator will get an indication in the cab, and a signal is sent to the owner or dealer,” he said. “They can get an idea of what’s going wrong” and “have a good idea of what [parts] they should bring with them before heading out. “Our main goal with telemetrics is preventive maintenance, lower operating costs, and guaranteed ‘up’ time,” Fowler said. “Minimizing downtime is critical; equipment makes money only when it’s running.” Technological changes are occurring in other John Deere forestry equipment, “right up to the new E-Series of cut-to-length harvesting systems,” Fowler noted. The four E-Series harvesters are the 1070E, 1170E, 1270E, and 1470E. These six-wheeled harvesters incorporate a new cab and the TimberMatic automation sys-
tem. All are equipped with Waratah heads that range from 8inches in diameter to heads that can cut 18-inch diameter trees. According to Fowler, the climatized cab — also found on the ESeries forwarders — “pivots and levels in the same direction” as the turning boom. “You’re always looking at your job, instead of turning your head,” he said, stressing that no matter how the harvester or forwarder is angled in relation to the forest floor, “the cab is always level.” The rotating cab is standard on all E-Series harvesters and forwarders; the leveling feature is optional. The six E-Series forwarders are the 810E, 1010E, 1110E, 1210E, 1510E, and 1910E. A new feature on these forwarders is a hydraulic fan that cleans the engine cooler by automatically reversing direction to blow dust and wood debris. The E-Series has “been in production here for 1½to 2 years,” Fowler said. “It’s been very popular. The operators really like what Deere has done for them. The machines are much more ergonomically friendly for the operator,” who works in a climatized cab. “It’s all about operator comfort today,” Fowler said. “A person comfortable in a nice cab isn’t going to fatigue easy” and lose production as the workday passes. And an equipment operator pleased with working conditions probably would stay on the job, rather than find a job running more ergonomically friendly equipment elsewhere, he indicated. The E-Series harvesters and forwarders benefit the environment, an important goal of John Deere, according to Fowler. He explained that “being environmentally friendly and staying ‘green’ has been a major focus with John Deere,” currently involved with cogeneration plants, wind energy, and other green-energy sources. Cut-to-length harvesting demonstrates that environmental focus, according to Fowler. “In today’s market, with its selective thinning and [tree] plantations, cut-to-length harvesting works well,” he said. “It’s very friendly to the forest floor, with less impact and [creating less] disturbance. “Some landowners want cut-to-
length [harvesting] on their land,” Fowler observed. “With cut-tolength, the majority of the [tree] tops and branches are left in the woods. The operator spreads it out over the forest floor and leaves it to decay.” Among the other John Deere forestry equipment carried by Nortrax is the 600 Series skidder, which “has always been the workhorse of the fleet,” Fowler said. However, “more people are going to the 800 Series with its greater hauling capacity.” Grapple skidders are outselling cable skidders as logging contractors shift from hand crews to mechanized logging, he indicated. John Deere builds four grapple skidders: the 548G-III, 648H, 748H, and 848H. Nortrax carries four John Deere forestry swing machines: the 2154D, 2454D, 2954D, and 3754D. “The 2154 forestry swing machine with a delimber on it, it’s designed for the woods,” Fowler said. “It has a forestry cab on it.” Known as a Forestry Protection Standard (FOPS) cab, this type of cab “is designed for severe duty versus having to take an excavator and having to build a café over it.” John Deere manufactures tracked feller-bunchers (six models) and wheeled feller-bunchers (two models). “Our 753J, the newer model [in tracked fellerbunchers], has much more modern hydraulics and the ability to multi-function,” as well as “more boom reach,” Fowler said. The 753J can be equipped with an optional “D7 bottom that makes it (the machine) much more stable on rough terrain and when cutting larger wood,” he noted. According to Fowler, the Nortrax stores in Bangor, Houlton, and Fort Kent cover the region stretching “from Waterville to Calais to Jackman and all the way to the tip of northern Maine.” Each store is open at least 10 hours a day from Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m.-12 noon on Saturday. “All three stores have an afterhours call-in service for parts,” Fowler said. “A lot of our customers work on Saturdays, and some of them do on Sundays. It’s important that parts be available to them,” he commented.
BANGOR DAILY NEWS | Friday | October 21, 2011 | 23
24 | BANGOR DAILY NEWS | Friday | October 21, 2011
Two new heavy-duty trucks will soon appear in the Maine woods By Brian Swartz CUSTOM PUBLICATIONS EDITOR
Two new heavy-duty trucks will appear soon in the Maine woods, on the highways, and at construction sites everywhere. According to Tim Caldwell, the Freightliner of Maine General Manager, Freightliner and Western Star have introduced new models “designed for the vocational market.” These trucks are: • The Freightliner 114SD (for “Severe Duty”); • The Western Star 4700. “Both of these trucks would fit under the category of ‘Baby 8s,’” Caldwell said, referring to the Class 8 truck classification. “Both trucks are a step down from the premium Class 8 products. They fill a niche in both makes,” with the 114SD “bridging the gap between the Freightliner M2 and Coronado SD, which is a premium Class 8. “The Western Star 4700 is Western Star’s first dalliance into a lighter truck,” Caldwell pointed out. “It’s designed to compete with International, Volvo, Mack.” The 114SD and 4700 “would be great log
haulers, a tandem-axle municipal truck with a plow and a dump body on it, a concrete truck or a utility truck of various configurations. These trucks are not intended for a long-haul sleeper application,” he said. “Both are available with heavy-duty frame ratings and several suspensions, including Hendrickson, Chalmers, heavy duty air, and the Tuf Trac suspension, which has extreme articulation, durability, simplicity and provides a great ride. “The Western Star 4700 would work well with a log loader behind the cab, especially in western Maine,” Caldwell said. “There’s a lot of pine and big spruce down there and a few sawmills. Logging’s somewhat different down there than up in the County. There are more private woodlots rather than long stretches of commercial forest. There are quite a few three-axle, self-loader trucks in that area.” The 114SD and 4700 feature the 2010 emissions engines, which reduce emissions by utilizing SCR technology with urea injection. Similar engines are available in both trucks: • On the Freightliner 114SD, a Detroit Diesel DD13 can deliver 350 to 450 horse-
The new Freightliner 114SD bridges the gap between the Freightliner M2 and the Coronado SD.
power and up to 1,650 foot-pounds of torque. A Cummins ISC can deliver up to 350 horsepower and 1,000 foot-pounds of torque; a Cummins ISL can deliver up to 380 horsepower and 1,300 foot-pounds of torque. • On the Western Star 4700, the Detroit Diesel DD13 can produce 350 to 450 horsepower and 1,250 to 1,650 foot-pounds of torque. The Cummins ISC can deliver 260 to 350 horsepower and up to1,000 footpounds of torque, and the Cummins ISL can deliver 345 to 380 horsepower and 1,150 to 1,300 foot-pounds of torque. “Torque is what does the work,” Caldwell said. “The higher the torque rating, the greater the load capacity the truck has. These trucks are built for heavy-duty applications; depending on how customers want to use them, they can be ordered with the right engine for the job.” The Freightliner 114SD is available at the Freightliner of Maine locations at: • 422 Perry Road, Bangor; • 10 Terminal St., Westbrook. The Western Star 4700 is available at
Freightliner and Western Star of Maine at 10 Terminal St., Westbrook. The trucks “are brand new,” Caldwell said. “We just got ’em (the 114SD).” The very first Freightliner 114SD delivered to FOM “was set up as a plow truck to put a dump body and a big plow on it. We sold it to [the Town of] New Gloucester Public Works [Department]. “They liked the visibility [from the cab], the maneuverability, the fact [that] the cab was comfortable and easily accessible,” he said. Several Western Star 4700s “are on order for our Westbrook store,” Caldwell said. He expects these trucks to arrive soon. According to Caldwell, FOM has service agreements with Ouellette’s Garage (695 Beaulieu Road, St. David) and the Big Rig Shop Inc. (502 Main St., Oxford). Both facilities are certified to perform Freightliner warranty work and sell parts ordered from Freightliner of Maine. Freightliner of Maine also has parts stores at 7 Rodman Road in Auburn and at 2 Piper Way in Waterville.
Designed for use in the vocational market, the new Western Star 4700 represents Western Star’s first venture into a lighter vocational truck that competes with International, Mack, and Volvo.
BANGOR DAILY NEWS | Friday | October 21, 2011 | 25
BDN PHOTO BY BRIAN SWARTZ
West-bound on West Front Street (Route 2) in Skowhegan, a truck driver hauls logs past the deceptively somnolent Kennebec River just upstream from the Skowhegan dam.
fly cases. After identifying a vernal pool, document the pool’s existence. Identify it on a manageContinued from Page 20 ment plan map and/or include it in a planlooking for: ning GIS layer. Plan timber harvesting activ• Small, isolated wetlands that are at least ities using the vernal pool habitat manage12 inches deep and are likely to hold water ment guidelines. for more than 2½ months; Vernal pools that have been mapped as • Evidence of one or more indicator significant wildlife habitat by the Departspecies, as evidenced by mating adults, egg ment of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife have masses, spermatophores, or larvae. statutory protection and may require a perIn drier periods, look for depressions in mit by rule for activities within 250 feet of the forest with: the pool perimeter. • Compacted leaves and objects with Habitat management guidelines have water stains of a film of sediment; been developed to help forest managers, • Wetland plants (mosses, sedges, some harvesters, and landowners protect elements ferns, and shrubs) and soils; of critical habitat for vernal pool-dependent • Fingernail clams, snails, and/or caddis wildlife. The guidelines are meant to be applied within a working forest where trees are regenerated and grown in the vicinity of important vernal pools. It may not be possible to protect all vernal pools during forest management activities. Priority should be placed on protecting high-value pools that show significant breeding activity. The habitat guidelines are broken into three zones. These include the pool itself, the area within 100 feet of the pool perimeter (protection zone), and BDN FILE PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS the area between 100 feet and 400 A green frog surfaces in an Orono vernal pool in feet of the pool perimeter (life early spring. zone).
26 | BANGOR DAILY NEWS | Friday | October 21, 2011
Effective CLP program has educated Maine loggers for 20 years By David M. Fitzpatrick BANGOR DAILY NEWS
The Certified Logging Professional program turns 20 in 2011, and to celebrate, the Maine TREE Foundation, which sponsors the program, will host a banquet at the Sea Dog Restaurant in Bangor at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 27. Launched in 1991, the CLP was designed to promote occupational safety and promote professional development in the logging industry. The program covers many forestry aspects, such as safety, forest management, erosion control, and the occupation as a whole. A competency-based on-site evaluation enables CLP facilitators to identify any problem areas and give any needed one-onone training. Loggers from all corners of the state participate, whether they work for big companies with harvesters, small companies with skidders, or individuals with chainsaws. CLP educates and trains loggers of all persuasions. The CLP’s initial four-day program is sort
BDN PHOTO BY BRIAN SWARTZ
In late September 2011, a logger tows logs from the Penobscot County woods with a grapple skidder. Many Maine loggers have trained as Certified Logging Professionals under a program launched by the Maine TREE Foundation in 1991.
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time; CLP works with people who already have a strong understanding of the field. It ensures that those who have been through the CLP program have those basic, required skills, with a primary focus on safety. Graduates return a year later for a oneday refresher, and for one-day refreshers every other year thereafter. The CLP program focuses on six main areas: safety, which has resulted in a reduction in accidents that has led to up to 34 percent less for worker’s compensation rates over non-CLP mechanical loggers; skill, from site layout to felling and marketing wood; knowledge, from technology to the environment; stewardship, including wildlife protection, erosion and pollution control, and sustainable forestry; professionalism, through training and experience; and pride, helping bring quality, safety, and
environmentally-sound practices to work sites. CLPs also learn harvesting law, and how to deal with new or abnormal situations. Loggers are often hesitant to contact regulatory agencies, so the CLP tries to put faces on those agencies. Personnel from the Maine Forest Service, Department of Environmental Protection and Inland Fisheries & Wildlife are often invited to CLP training. Even Central Maine Power has made appearances to talk about power line safety. These personal connections give loggers a familiarity that enables them to make calls and ask questions. Loggers learn where they can go if they encounter a situation in which they’re unsure how to proceed. To attend the banquet, visit www.MaineTreeFoundation.org. To learn more about the CLP, visit www.CLPloggers.org.
BANGOR DAILY NEWS | Friday | October 21, 2011 | 27
Rudman Winchell has extensive experience in forest-products sector
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entities enhances the quality and efficiency of our work for forest related enterprises. We have participated in many transactions involving the diversification of ownership of Maine timberlands, beginning with significant landowner divestitures in the 1980s. We have served as counsel: • For national and international lenders providing financing to farmers; • For timber companies, paper companies, and salmon farmers; • And for others involved in the natural resource industries. Our attorneys have extensive experience with forestland regulatory matters, such as the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission subdivision and development approval process, and aquacultural submerged land leases. Rudman Winchell attorneys with particular specialization in
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28 | BANGOR DAILY NEWS | Friday | October 21, 2011
Demand remains strong for wood pellets manufactured in Maine By Sheila Grant Purchasing Maine-made wood pellets is less expensive than buying heating oil, wood pellets are virtually carbon neutral, and burning wood pellets keeps dollars working in the Maine economy, according to Bill Bell, executive director of the Maine Pellet Fuels Association. Each day, Bell posts the current price for heating oil on the associationâ€™s Web site. â€œOil is $85 a barrel,â€? Bell said. â€œA year ago it was $77, and projections are that a year from now it will be $97. Yes, there are new sources available for oil, but the cost of retrieving it is going to be high. Weâ€™re not going to run out of oil, but the price of producing and refining is going to continue to climb.â€? There are four Maine companies manufacturing pellets; these companies are located in Strong, Athens, Ashland, and Corinth. â€œThe previous governor convened a Wood to Energy Task Force,â€? said Bell.â€œThey concluded after hearing from the Maine Forest Service that Maine could convert over the next five years 10 percent of our households to pellet heat without making a dent % & '
BDN PHOTO BY BRIAN SWARTZ
A forklift operator loads a pallet of filled wood-pellet bags onto a truck parked at a wood-pellet manufacturing company in Maine.
in the supply of wood for the forest products industry.â€? Maineâ€™s wood pellet industry has come a long way since its infancy. The panic over oil prices in 2008 led some consumers to order three yearsâ€™ worth of pellets, which skewed manufacturersâ€™ and retailersâ€™ perceptions of market demand. That surplus of pellets and a drop in oil prices led to fewer orders and a glut of pellets in 2009-2010. â€œBecause of supply chain dynamics and
( ) & * ( % +
people not being used to a nice steady flow, there were bulges of inventory at every level,â€? said George Soffron, president of the Maine Pellet Fuels Association and CEO of Corinth Wood Pellets LLC. â€œThe pellet industry has exhibited all the characteristics you would think a young market would, with big swings and a learning curve on how to smooth out inventory. The end user still used the same or more pellets, but demand is increasing by 10 or 20 percent rather than 50 percent,â€? he said. Soffron has about 32 employees and estimates that about 100 people are employed between the four plants. If work provided to harvesters and truckers was included, he said, Maine pellets provide jobs to four times that many people. Pellet heating systems have also evolved. That market is providing jobs in manufacturing, installation, and service technology. Maine Energy Systems (MESYS) in Bethel assembles pellet boiler systems for residential and large-scale buildings and distributes bulk pellets statewide. â€œThese systems are fully automatic,â€? said Dutch Dresser, co-owner of MESYS. â€œThey feed themselves pellets from a storage unit in your basement. You never see a pellet. They remove their own ash to a small ash receptacle that you need only empty after every couple of tons of pellets. It takes two minutes, and you could do it in your finest clothes. The resultant ash is powder-like potash, a common fertilizer.â€? Dresser said that demand is up by a factor of four of five, with residential, municipal, and school district buildings leading the way.
Because the pellet boilers are staged in larger buildings, hooked together in series, and are governed by one central control unit that monitors actual demand for heat, they are extremely fuel-efficient, he said. â€œMSAD 74 is putting in nine or 10 of them in three or four buildings,â€? said Dresser. â€œThe City of Gardiner was our first municipal project. We installed two in their public works garage, and they were so pleased with the results that they are getting ready to do the city offices.â€? Dresser said MESYS understood from the start that boiler systems wouldnâ€™t be successful without effective pellet delivery, so bulk delivery has always been part of the business. MESYSâ€™s bulk pellets are manufactured in Maine, Dresser said. Bagged pellets from Maine companies bear markings identifying them as Maine products, according to Soffron. â€œPellets are a heating fuel that is just about half the price of oil,â€? said Dresser. â€œWhen you spend a dollar on heating oil, seventy-five cents of that never touches our economy. If you buy Maine wood pellets, that whole dollar stays in our economy.â€? Between purchasing a local product, and saving half the money that would have been spent on oil to spend at other Maine businesses, â€œthe regional impact on our economy is just staggering,â€? he said. â€œWe think that Maine people are now realizing that when they have the chance, they want to get away from oil, and that we are the best alternative,â€? Bell said. For more about Maine wood pellets, visit www.mepfa.org.
$ %& '
BDN PHOTO BY BRIAN SWARTZ
Autumn foliage backdrops a Western Star driver hauling a load of logs south on the Lily Bay Road near Greenville.
BANGOR DAILY NEWS | Friday | October 21, 2011 | 29
Maine loggers gravitate toward Kenworth’s tough W900L and T800 By Brian Swartz SPECIAL SECTIONS EDITOR
When Arthur and JoAnne Hicks acquired Kenworth’s Maine franchise in 1976, they quickly named their company CB Kenworth. The initials “CB” stand for ChadwickBaRoss and honor Bob BaRoss, who “helped my father get into the business,” said CB Kenworth Vice President Ben Hicks. Today CB Kenworth operates dealerships at 2239 Odlin Road, Hermon and 42 Wallace Ave., South Portland. The company sells and services Kenworth trucks at both locations and International (Navistar) trucks at its Hermon dealership. Mainers involved in the forestproducts industry like two particular Kenworth trucks: the W900L and the T800. “The W900L is a conventional cab, set-forward axle, long-nose,” built with “heavy-duty specs,”
BDN PHOTO BY BRIAN SWARTZ
Among the new Kenworths available at CB Kenworth in Hermon is this 2012 W900L day cab equipped with a Cummins 550 ISX engine, an 18-speed manual transmission, and dual stacks.
including “axle ratings, engines, and frame rails,” said Jeff Fogg, a CB Kenworth sales representative. Kenworth designs the W900L for
heavy-duty hauling, whether overthe-road or in the Maine woods. Listed applications for the W900L include bulk hauling, regional
hauling, and vocational (such as a dump or self-loader log truck). The W900L’s heavy-duty capabilities extend to heavy front axles (rated from 14,600 to 20,000 pounds) and rear axles (rated from 23,000-pound single axles to 52,000-pound tandem axles). The set-forward front axle distributes overall truck weight better, a feature appreciated by drivers hauling logs to a Maine mill. Paccar, which owns Kenworth, builds a proprietary engine — the 13-liter Paccar MX, rated at 425485 horsepower — for Kenworth trucks; Cummins supplies such larger engines as the ISX, which delivers 425-600 horsepower. Also built with heavy-duty specs, the T800 differs externally from the W900L. Featuring a conventional cab design, the T800 has a sloped nose and a set-back axle, which places the front tires nearer the cab and shortens the truck’s wheelbase. Matt Parker, another CB Kenworth sales rep, indicated
that the set-back axle gives a T800 “a 45-degree wheel cut” that provides “more maneuverability compared to [the] 32-degree” wheel cut available on the W900L. “Gives you a tighter turning radius in these cul-de-sacs you see at the ends of woods roads,” Parker said. The T800 can be adapted to different applications, from local delivery to OTR operations to hauling cement and gravel. Offered with the same engines available in the W900L, the T800 features 59-inch taperleaf springs and a sloped hood that improves the driver’s ability to see what’s ahead on the highway. Exclusive to Kenworth trucks is Air Glide, an eight-bag air-ride suspension that replaces traditional steel springs with air springs. One option, the AG460, is rated at 46,000 pounds; like all Air Glide suspensions, the AG460 places two air bags per wheel set, with each See KENWORTH, Page 30
30 | BANGOR DAILY NEWS | Friday | October 21, 2011
from securing the truck mirrors to the cowlings rather than the doors to building allaluminum cabs to reduce the weight inherent with steel cabs. Helping to reduce weight one-piece hoods and roofs made from Metton fiberglass. “Kenworth is the Harley-Davidson of trucks,” Fogg said.
Continued from Page 29 rubber bag inflated with compressed air. According to Parker, Air Glide “makes for a better ride,” especially on canted woods roads.
Matching customers with Kenworth trucks
From CB Kenworth’s Hermon dealership, Fogg and Parker cover Maine north of Augusta. They often travel “deep into the woods” to meet with logging contractors, said Fogg, who has spent time at Clayton Lake and “sometimes 100 miles back in the woods. “We will talk about their truck needs or look at a truck for trade,” he said. “We are available to our customers at any time,” even to deliver a new truck. “In sales, if you’ve got your cell phone on, you’re open,” Parker said. “It’s not unusual to find a CB Kenworth rep far back in the forest,” Hicks said. “For our customers, their trucks are the equivalent of their offices. We go where our customers are working.” According to Fogg, CB Kenworth “has a strong online sales presence” via the company’s Web site, www.cbkenworth.com. A decision made at CB Kenworth last spring particularly paid dividends for online truck buyers. “The sales group got together and spec’d out what our customers are ordering for trucks,” Fogg said. The company then ordered several such trucks, which customers soon started buying. “It has been a big advantage for us in an otherwise slow economy,” Fogg commented. “Customers would need a new truck, and their local dealer didn’t have what they needed. So they went online and found the truck [that] they wanted was available here.” Parker recalled a trucker whose rig “gave up the ghost” in upstate New York. “He
Service after the sale
Out-of-state customers not only buy new or used Kenworths from CB Kenworth; they often “have them serviced here,” said Service Team Manager Vinnie McIntyre. “Word gets out over the CB [radio] about who did a great job servicing your truck; people hear about us all over the Northeast. “We’ve had customers load their trucks on lowbeds in Connecticut and bring them up here” for service, he said. “We have a large Canadian base.” This 2011 Kenworth T800B sold at CB Kenworth in Hermon features a Paccar MX In Hermon, CB Kenworth employs 18 engine that produces 485 horsepower, an 18-speed manual transmission, a service technicians; the service department 20,000-pound front axle, a 20,000-pound tag axle, and 46,000-pound rear axles is open from 7 a.m. to 12 midnight, Monday with full locking differentials. The Hood 7000 log loader was mounted in Farming- through Friday, with on-call service availton by DAVC0. Stairs Welding in Hodgdon welded the log bunks. able 24 hours a day. A phone call made to CB Kenworth’s Hermon dealership routes to called around out there and could not find picked up this year, a positive sign for CB McIntyre or Service Team Manager Dana what he wanted. Then he checked our Kenworth and for the forest-products Young. Either can decide to dispatch a servinventory on the Internet and bought a new industry. “There is a pent-up demand” to ice technician; “it depends on the breaktruck. I delivered it to him.” replace older trucks, Fogg observed. “In the down,” McIntyre said. Besides servicing Kenworth and Interna“For being a Maine-owned small store, last five years, people have leaned more tional trucks, the Hermon dealership repairs CB Kenworth has done well,” Hicks said. toward repair than replace. “We’ve sold trucks to Russia, Alaska, other “People who would trade every three-to- Caterpillar engines. According to McIntyre, CB Kenworth is a places out of state. four years have held longer onto their “I’d estimate that 40 percent of the trucks trucks. It’s reaching a point where they’re certified Caterpillar TEPS (Truck Engine we sell have something to do with the maybe looking at $130,000 for a new truck Parts and Service) dealer; the company has woods. It’s a big market for us,” he said. or $25,000 for a new engine, and something consistently placed No. 1 in New England “We sell to chip haulers, owner-operators, else could still go wrong on that older among all such dealers for the past several years, he indicated. the guys pulling the actual logs out of the truck,” he said. At its South Portland dealership, CB Kenwoods,” Hicks said. Both CB Kenworth deal“Our biggest sales point is best-in-class erships sell medium-duty trucks, some resale,” Parker commented. “Kenworth worth cleans diesel particulate filters, with equipped as service trucks, others equipped builds superior trucks; it has to do with the which “all diesel-engine trucks have been to deliver wood pellets. Hicks described how quality of the truck, [with] the cab design. equipped since 2007,” Hicks said.“The filters a delivery truck equipped with a blower “can The whole design is different than [in] the require periodic cleaning to prevent premature failures. do bulk [pellet] delivery at a home or a busi- rest of the industry. “We were the first company in the state to ness.” “The walk-around is where the truck sells Fogg and Parker noted that sales have itself,” he said. The “little touches count,” offer DPF cleaning services,” he said.
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BANGOR DAILY NEWS | Friday | October 21, 2011 | 31
UMFK, Maine Forest Service collaborate on firefighting concentration
The University of Maine at Fort Kent and the Maine Forest Service have worked collaboratively to develop a Wildland Firefighting concentration within UMFK’s two-year degree program in Applied Forest Management. The program was developed by the university and the forest service to help produce qualified candidates to fill forest ranger positions. Graduates of the program will be qualified as forest rangers for the Maine Forest Service, as well as for federal agencies, such as the Bureau of Land Management or the U.S. Forest Service. Successful students may advance their education with a baccalaureate degree in Rural Public Safety Administration or Environmental Studies at UMFK or go on to complete a four-year forestry degree elsewhere. Since the creation of the Maine Forest Service in 1891, the role of forest rangers has changed considerably. Today, the job of a ranger is much different than forest rangers who worked 30 years ago. While the primary mission of the Forest Protection Division still is to protect Maine’s forest resources from fire, rangers now work year-round and are involved numerous activities that help protect Maine’s most abundant natural resource, its forests. The Applied Forest Management program at UMFK combines standard forestry training with wildland firefighting skills. Students complete basic forestry skills such as tree identification, measurement, inventory, and mapping in both the classroom and field settings. These provide the technical skills needed by rangers to enforce Maine’s Forest
PHOTO COURTESY OF TERENCE KELLY
Two Maine forest rangers investigate a wildfire started by a serial arsonist. The UMFK forestry program now has a concentration in wildland firefighting; program graduates can seek employment as forest rangers.
Practices Act and timber trespass cases. Additionally, basic and advanced wildland fire training provides the knowledge and skills that help graduates fulfill the traditional role of a forest ranger. Completion of the National Wildfire Coordinating Group course qualifies the recipient with nationwide federal wildland firefighter credentials. The course is designed to provide students with the core competencies needed to safe-
ly and effectively perform the tasks required of a wildland firefighter functioning within the national Incident Command System. Maine Forest Service Rangers work with federal, state, and local agencies in the planning, coordination, and response to natural and manmade disasters across Maine and in other parts of the country. So far in 2011, 35 different rangers have voluntarily mobilized to work on out-of-state forest fires and Hurricane Irene recovery efforts for two-week intervals. Locations have varied from Georgia and North Carolina to Minnesota, Vermont, and Texas. The mobilizations have helped Maine’s forest rangers gain wildland firefighting and all-risk experience and to maintain their national firefighting qualifications. During the last five years, forest rangers have responded to an average of 500 fires each year. The fires differ in size, type of material burned, and cause. On any of the fires, a forest ranger might assist with suppression efforts, enforce open burn laws, or investigate how the fire started. Forest rangers use their extensive knowledge and training to instruct hundreds of Maine firefighters in basic and advanced wildfire training classes and the ICS system. UMFK is the only Society of American Foresters-recognized college or university offering a forest technology program within the state of Maine and is one of only two such programs in all of New England.
32 | BANGOR DAILY NEWS | Friday | October 21, 2011
Maine forest ranger captured first place in Regional “Game of Logging” in Greenville
GREENVILLE — Maine Forest Ranger Samuel Heffner of the Maine Forest Service, under the Maine Department of Conservation, won first place in the Regional “Game of Logging” during the annual competition held on Saturday, Aug. 13, at the Forest Heritage Days event. Heffner competed against loggers from central and northern Maine and qualified to compete in the National “Game of Logging” Finals to be held Oct. 7-8 in Ohio. The “Game of Logging” competition is a group of events that includes saw chain filing, speed cutting, bore cutting, precision stump cutting, spring pole cutting, precision bucking, and precision felling. All events have a strong emphasis on safety while using chainsaws. “The division is very proud of Ranger Heffner’s accomplishments and will benefit from his experience and skills associated with this competition,” District Forest Ranger Bruce Reed said. Heffner is a nationally certified instructor in the use of chainsaws on wildland firefighting and recently was the lead instructor of the Wildland Fire Chainsaw course
A forest ranger with the Maine Forest Service, Samuel Heffner (with chainsaw) took first place in the Regional “Game of Logging” held last August.
taught at the Maine Forest Service’s Wildfire Training Academy. The academy is offered the first two weekends of June each year and targeted towards volunteer and full-time structural firefighters to help them develop various wildland firefighting skills.
Published on Oct 21, 2011