Deep in the woods of the Weyerhaeuser Vail Tree Farm, over 40 exhibitors in the forestry industry demonstrated the ins and outs of timber harvesting at the ninth Pacific Logging Congress Live In-Woods Show during the weekend of Sept. 21-23.
The event was in Washington state for the first time in 13 years, as it occurs every four years and cycles between Washington, Oregon and California.
Galen Wright, a forestry consultant based in Olympia who has worked in the industry for 45 years, said the event is a great opportunity for people, especially the more than 2,000 students from 31 different schools on field trips, to learn about the forestry industry.
“It gives everybody the opportunity to see lots of different kinds of equipment in one spot. It’s just lovely. It’s amazing how much we’ve mechanized the industry,” he said. “Seeing all these school kids out here is absolutely phenomenal that they get a chance to see some of this and learn where their paper that they write on comes from.”
The event showcased both the Weyerhaeuser Vail Tree Farm in Rainier, as well as active and static industry displays. More than 40 exhibitors, including John Deere, Pape and Timber West attended, displaying a variety of technologies and equipment for timber harvesting such as mulchers, feller bunchers, wood chippers and skidders.
More than 2,000 students attended the first two days of the event and participated in a number of activities, including a forest interpretive trail in which they learned about different classifications of tree stands and forests. They also visited educational booths, including Oregon State University’s forestry program, and learned how to get involved in the forest industry.
“The fact that this event teaches these kids how the industry functions and the different steps they take to make sure that this is a sustainable product and industry is a pretty awesome opportunity,” said Yelm High School teacher Matt Mounts, who brought his sustainable habitats class to the event. “They got to understand what it takes to get a piece of paper in their hand or lumber for their homes. I also wanted them to understand how the industry has to be focused on ecological principles and being environmental stewards of the land.”
Mounts said students from Aberdeen, Black Hills, Tumwater, Shelton, Fife, Lacey and Yelm, among others, were in attendance.
“The industry has come so far from where it was even 20 years ago. The technology that they use, the low-impact practices that they use are quite amazing,” he added. “It’s pretty eye-opening to see what technological advances have evolved and helped make this industry as sustainable as it is.”