SALEM – Three Oregon loggers representing southwest, northwest and eastern Oregon have been chosen as 2019 Operators of the Year. The Oregon Board of Forestry will honor the recipients at its March 4 meeting in Salem. The awardees are:
Southwest Oregon – Pacific Forest Contractors, Inc., of Eagle Creek
Eastern Oregon – Steve Jackson of Steve Jackson Logging based in Ridgefield, Wash.
Northwest Oregon – Jim Gahlsdorf of Gahlsdorf Logging Inc., in Rickreall
The Board gives the Operator of the Year Awards to recognize those who, while harvesting timber or doing other forestry work, protect natural resources at a level that goes above and beyond requirements of the Oregon Forest Practices Act. That law requires people to manage forests responsibly and protect streams and water quality, protect and enhance habitat, and reduce landslide risks. The law also requires landowners to replant forests after harvesting. The awards honor operators who consistently meet or exceed Forest Practices Act regulations. Private Forests Division Chief Kyle Abraham said, “These operators have shown an outstanding ability to harvest the wood products Oregon and the nation need while protecting natural resources.”
Jim Gahlsdorf, owner of Gahlsdorf Logging Inc., earned the Northwest Oregon Operator of the Year award for minimizing soil disturbance by using an elaborate rigging system that lifted logs off the ground and over a high ridge to the yarder landing. The operation was in a steep, remote part of the Coast Range during fire season, which prompted the owner to take extra firefighting precautions. Regional Forest Practices committees select the operators of the year recipients from among nominees sent in by landowners, ODF staff and others.