Celebrating Oktoberfest, forest products-style

Celebrating Oktoberfest Montana forest products-styleWhen you compare months of the year, October gives us a whole lot to love. Trees lit with color in our forests and neighborhoods. Football games and tailgate parties. Hunting on crisp autumn days. Fall festivals that bring out the kid in us. Yes, we get more than our fair share in this great month, yet forest industry professionals have even one more reason to celebrate — National Forest Products Week. This week, which begins the third Sunday of each October, reminds Americans of the contribution and role our industry plays in producing valuable products, good-paying jobs, and healthy forests. We can certainly use more reminders of that, can’t we?

Taking it to the state

And that’s where this blog post officially begins. You see, FBN’s home state of Montana designated its own Forest Products Week back in 2011 to coincide with the national event. I’ve played a small role on a planning committee — led by the fine folks at the Montana DNRC — that’s worked hard since spring to ensure we pull off an eventful week this year to get Montanans excited about our state’s industry and where it’s headed.

Once you view the aggressive agenda Montana has put together for Forest Products Week (posted below), I believe you’ll be encouraged by what we’re doing in this part of the country. If your state isn’t currently doing much to celebrate the week, I hope you’ll use this post as fodder for ideas to get something going in your area next year. One way to begin is to sound out in the comments section below with questions and thoughts. Let’s share some ideas and work toward building a meaningful Forest Products Week in every state next year. It’s never too early to start!

Montanans: We need your help

Montana Forest Products Week is right around the corner — October 18-24 — so I have a request of all Big Sky industry professionals. Once you check out the Montana DNRC’s Forest Products Week webpage, and its list of resources — agenda, event locations, state fact sheet, interactive facilities map, and more — do your part to make this week a success by spreading the word to your personal and professional networks.

5 ways to do just that:

  1. Tell your staff, members, clients, and friends — encourage participation at the events.
  2. Post information about the week on your website. (Note: Here’s a webpage graphic you can use as you please. Right click the image and click “Save image as” to download to your computer. Upload from there to your website or alter in Photoshop to fit size requirements, etc.)
  3. Become a fan of the Forest Products Week Facebook page and get your network to “like” the page. Then share the info and links that we’ll be promoting before and during the week to your own Facebook fans.
  4. Post the attached Facebook cover image on your company or organization’s Facebook page. (Note: Right click the image and click “Save image as” to download to your computer. Upload from there to Facebook.)
  5. Let your local newspaper know you’re participating and point readers to the Forest Products Week website.

Here’s a quick look at what’s happening during Montana Forest Products Week…

Missoula (and Bitterroot Valley)

Friday, Oct. 18

Timber Tour. Hours: 12pm-5pm. Hosted by the Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce. Attendees will travel by bus to view several sites within the Lolo Complex Fire. The tour will focus on the significance of “Fire In our Backyard” to our community and economy. Presentations will include an overview of the fire, forestry activities including salvage logging, and the wildland urban interface. The event is free and open to the public and will wrap up with a social including refreshments. Please contact the Chamber at 406-543-6623 to reserve your spot.

Saturday, Oct. 19-25

Wood for Haiti (WFH). Hours: Open all day during mall hours. Wood for Haiti’s 576 sq. ft. prototype home will be on display in front of JC Penneys at the Southgate Mall. The main event will take place at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 19. Hollywood actor Keith David and Representatives from Montana’s Congressional Delegation will speak at that time. Mall shoppers are invited to visit with WFH representatives, tour the home and learn how to become a member. Donations support WFH’s humanitarian effort to provide construction material and vocational training for Haitians to build 6,000 communities out of wood over the next ten years. Read more about the event.

Monday, Oct. 21

Marshall Canyon Project / Student Chapter Society of American Foresters. Hours: 8:30am (start time). Join the student chapter of the Society of American Foresters on a tour of a 21-acre city park in Marshall Canyon. The student chapter officially adopted the park this year with the intent of managing the parcel to meet Missoula Conservation Lands Division restoration objectives. They invite you to take a tour of the land to learn about the management objectives, restoration activities and their collaborative partnership with the City of Missoula. Please meet at the corner of Highway 200 and Marshall Canyon Road at 8:30am.

UM College of Forestry and Conservation symposium. Hours: 3pm-5pm. The University of Montana’s College of Forestry and Conservation will host a panel discussion on “What it Means to Be A Forester Today.” Diverse panelists representing federal and state agencies, private forests, and industry will discuss the opportunities and challenges they see as most significant for forestry professionals in the 21st century. Panel takes place on the UM campus in lecture room 110 of the Interdisciplinary Sciences Building.

Thursday, Oct. 24

Sustainable Lumber Company. Hours: 1pm-3pm. At this showroom open house, come and see Montana-made products manufactured from locally-harvested wood, including recycled pallet paneling, Douglas fir flooring, Douglas fir cabinets, blue pine and Douglas fir doors, blue pine paneling, and Douglas fir trim. Address: 2825 Stockyard Rd. Unit C-6, Missoula, MT.

Bad Goat Forest Products. Hours: 1pm-5pm. Open house tour shows you this full circle operation, using logs from local forest restoration projects and from Missoula’s urban forest, through sawmilling and onto wood products and traditional timber framed barns sheds and saunas. Directions: The address is 1301 Scott Street. Go North over the Scott Street Bridge. After the bridge, take your first left into Zip Beverage, then take another immediate left and head back towards the railroad tracks. Look for log decks.

Celebrating Oktoberfest Montana forest products-styleHamilton and Seeley Lake

Tuesday, Oct. 22

Walk in the Forest. (School event) Hamilton School students will join foresters for a walk in the forest to learn about the forestry profession and the skills, tools and equipment used in the field.

Pyramid Mountain Lumber Mill Tour. Hours: 1pm (start time). Open to the public. To sign up, please call 406-677-2201, ext. 26.

Anaconda and St. Regis

Wednesday, Oct. 23

Walk in the Woods. (School event) Georgetown/Anaconda school kids will join local foresters on a tour of the forest, visit an active harvest site, and a tour of the mill.

Tricon Timber Mill Tour. Hours: 1pm (start time). Open to the public. Come and tour the inside of a classic stud mill, with the versatility to cut squares, boards, and metric export products. To sign up, please call 406-649-2485.

Columbia Falls and Kalispell

Thursday, Oct. 24

Flathead Chamber Timber Tour. Hours: 12pm-5pm. Walk through Plum Creek’s Evergreen Mill, and participate in a ribbon cutting and tour of F.H. Stoltze Land and Lumber’s newly constructed 2.5 MegaWatt wood fired combined heat and power facility. RSVP online. (Note: Look for the “Not a member” link at the bottom…)

Foys to Blacktail Community Forest. Hours: 8am and 10am. Firewise forest tour. Foy’s Community Forest and partners will be conducting a FireWise forestry demonstration project, with tours scheduled for 8am and 10am. Participants will be taken by vehicle to the John Chase forest to observe an active forest restoration project focused on thinning for wildfire safety and forest health. The Forest will officially become American Tree Farm Certified that day! DNRC foresters will be on hand to explain the process and answer questions. We will be walking and observing an active forestry operation, please wear appropriate footwear and clothing. Hardhats will be provided. Meet at the Herron Park parking lot. Vehicles will leave at 8 & 10 am so do not be late! Participation is limited to 10 for each tour. To register, please email: info@FoysToBlacktailTrails.org

Tom Waddell is Forest Business Network’s VP of Marketing & Sales.

Photo of lumber: Craig Rawlings, Forest Business Network