Oregon's Operators of the Year named by regional forestry committees
SALEM, Ore. – Three logging firms representing southwest, northwest and eastern Oregon have been chosen as Operators of the Year for 2021. The Oregon Board of Forestry will honor the recipients virtually at its Jan. 5 meeting in Salem. The awardees are:
- Northwest Oregon – All Around Logging, LLC of Stayton in Marion County
- Southwest Oregon – Plikat Logging of Winston in Douglas County
- Eastern Oregon – H Timber Contracting of Hines in Harney County
Regional Forest Practices committees select the operators of the year and merit award recipients from among nominees sent in by landowners, ODF staff and others. The award recognizes forest operators who, while harvesting timber or doing other forestry work, protect natural resources at a level that goes above and beyond requirements of the Oregon Forest Practices Act. That law requires people to manage forests responsibly and protect streams and water quality, protect and enhance habitat, and reduce landslide risks. The law also requires landowners to replant forests after harvesting. The awards honor operators who consistently meet or exceed Forest Practices Act regulations. Videos about each of the three Operators of the Year and five Merit Award winners can be viewed on the ODF website at https://www.oregon.gov/odf/Working/Pages/default.aspx
ODF Forest Resources Division Interim Chief Josh Barnard said, “This year’s honorees represent innovation to protect water quality, care in harvesting that leaves an overcrowded forest in a safer, healthier state, and helping others begin to recover in the wake of devastating wildfire. They have shown an outstanding ability to meet landowner objectives while exercising extraordinary care and diligence in challenging harvesting situations. From protecting streams while logging where it rains 90 inches a year to carefully removing fire-ravaged trees from a beloved family campground, we’re pleased to recognize the leadership and community spirit these operators have shown.”
Aaron Silbernagel’s work helping numerous small landowners devastated by the Beachie Creek Fire was recognized with the Operator of the Year award for Northwest Oregon. Owner of All Around Logging, LLC in Stayton, Silbernagel helped landowners assess what timber could be salvaged after the fire, which in September 2020 burned a total of 193,000 acres in eastern Marion and Linn counties. Silbernagel worked not only to harvest burned trees but to find mills that would take the scorched logs. He then worked with the North Santiam Watershed Council and Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District to find native seedlings to help reforest burned areas up and down the Santiam Canyon.
The Northwest Oregon Regional Forest Practices Committee also issued Merit Awards to:
- F and B Logging owned by Mike Falleur and based in Warrenton in Clatsop County
- Marshall Logging based in Tillamook in Tillamook County and owned by Andrew Marshall
- Pacific Forest Contractors of Eagle Creek in Clackamas County
Plikat Logging was recognized as Operator of the Year for Southwest Oregon. The Winston-based firm is owned by Wally Plikat. The firm took on a difficult operation on a unit in Douglas County that bordered a busy state highway and had two different utility powerlines running through it as well as a fish-bearing stream and wetlands. Excellent communication and coordination with utilities during logging prevented any damage to powerlines, avoiding disruptions to customers. Thoughtful selection of access roads and timing more logging at night also avoided traffic delays on the bordering highway. Felling parallel to the stream and choosing landing sites carefully also helped preserve intact the buffer zone protecting the stream and wetlands.
The Southwest Regional Forest Practices Committee also recognized with an Award of Merit Blaylock, Inc., a logging firm owned by Fred Blaylock of Coquille in Coos County.
Tony Hauth’s H Timber Contracting, based in Hines, earned the Operator of the Year for Eastern Oregon award. The award was given for Hauth protecting a fish-bearing stream flowing through the middle of a timber stand being harvested near John Day. With no road access to the east bank, Hauth had to install two temporary crossings by placing a 36-inch high culvert and cover it with logs. Timber from the east side of the stream was felled and then passed by a mechanical arm across the stream to minimize any impact to the stream or vegetation along it. Access on the west bank required rebuilding a disused old road close to the stream. Large rocks and several logs were used to armor the bank to prevent sediment from entering the stream. All streamside vegetation was protected from damage through the course of the harvest.
The Eastern Oregon Regional Forest Practices Committee also honored with a Merit Award Dave Elpi, owner of Sisters Forest Products in Deschutes County.
Oregon enacted the Forest Practices Act in 1971 as a national model for forest management laws. The law focuses on ensuring responsible forest operations and protecting natural resources in forestland. The Act has been updated many times based on new scientific information and values to create a balanced approach to natural resource management.
# # #