Forest Science Major, graduating May 2016
Over the breaks and a few weekends, I like to go back home from school to work in the woods for either of my uncles who are loggers. I first learned how to safely use a saw at 12 and learned how to operate a skidder before I learned how to drive a car. Working in the woods is something most of the males in my family are accustomed to.
This past winter break my uncle had a several-acre clearcut planned for us to do. Due to the strict environmental and sediment plan that was required we have yet to fell a single tree. This ordeal lasted several months and resulted in my uncle losing interest in the job. I guess I should mention now that the area that we were going to cut was not to be managed, but intended to be developed and have condominiums constructed.
The real work of logging is not felling and skidding. It is getting past all the red tape of erosion & sediment plans and getting bonds to use county roads for the single log truck my uncle owns. Life is already tough enough for the small time logger that is trying to put food on the table along with paying taxes and the never-ending battle with fixing equipment. In my opinion, I think that the tedious and strict e&s plans required to log should be loosened depending on the intentions of the landowner and the size of the operation. For instance, if a logger is only cutting down snags and hazard trees, he should not need to have an e&s plan. This idea is in practice in some areas, but is not practiced in my home county.
A logger should only have to focus on removing trees to the best of his or her abilities. They should not be put on hold due to a strict e&s plan that sometimes will make no difference due to the decision of the landowner. Should e&s plans be loosened all together? No, they shouldn’t for massive logging operations that cover an entire landscape, or for the companies that are doing the construction; but for small operations that will not do any harm to riparian zones or any open water, they are over the top.
People lose their minds if a little dirt falls in a stream, but no one seems to complain about all the salt that the state spreads on the roads during the winter. In the spring all the salt has to go somewhere and it is not into some containment area that safely stores the vehicle eating salt until next year. It goes into the streams that are near roads. I am not a wildlife and fisheries person, but I don’t think all that salt is good for the wildlife that live in or use those open water sources.
Below is a video that goes into great detail about the planning and precautions that go into an erosion and sediment control plan. All the work that goes into an e&s plan is a little over the top for a small time logger to complete.