The Record-courier. (Haines, Baker County, Oregon) 1932-2016, January 01, 2015, Image 1

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DEC 3 1 2014
Oldest Weekly Newspaper in Baker County
Est. Haines 1901 ~ Haines, Baker County, Oregon
Thursday, January 1,2015
Volume 114, Number 1 • 10 Pages • 75 cents
Banner Customers
Photo by Gina Perkins
Bob Black, owner of Black Distributing and his two
Border Collies, Sadie and Sally are customers of Banner
Bank. The dogs are treated to cookies each time they
come in and clearly know thè routine well.
Just two of the hundreds of photos
taken by Timothy Bishop of Base Camp
Baker during 2014. Both were included
in his album of 2014 favorites.
Photo by Timothy Bishop
(Above) Super Moon taken in July
2014 during the Hells Canyon Mo­
torcycle Rally
Photo by Timothy Bishop
Hells Canyon in Oct. during Dis­
cover America Film Crew Tour
Interested in
NRCS Thinning
If you are a landowner
and would like to contact
Gerald Loennig about po­
tential projects, he may be
reached at 541-856-3783.
Initial sign up deadline
for 2014 NRCS thinning
projects is Jan 16. Ques­
tions? Call Jana Peterson
at 541-523-5831 x24 or
Parker Ussery at 541-523-
7121 x 115.
Gerald Loennig's family has lived on and worked the
picturesque ranch located at the base of the Elkhorn
mountains on the Anthony Lakes Highway west of
Haines for generations. Responsible logging and
grazing has been a part of the successful management,
resulting in an abundance of wildlife and a healthy
stand of trees. Lumber from harvested trees has been
utilized to build a shop, hay bam and in other improve­
ments on the ranch. Because it's well managed and
ladder fuels are kept under control, Loennig is also
helping ensure that his home, outbuildings, and family
are protected in the event of a forest fire.
Just as in other types of business and industry,
logging—and loggers, for that matter—cannot be painted
with the same brush. While images of massive
clear-cuts on the west side of the state may be what
some immediately think of when the term logging is
used, it certainly does not represent the type of respon­
sible, forward thinking forest management practices
Loennig, and those with a similar mindset, utilize.
"I'm looking toward helping build a healthier forest.
One in which wildlife, water quality, and people are all
considered. Logging can look good and we need wood
from somewhere. We live in wood homes, have wood
furniture, and because of the increasing urban-wildland
interface, with more and more people living in ór near
the forest, we are not just going to let wildfires bum,"
said Loennig.
In addition to managing his own property, Loennig
also does selective logging jobs for private landowners.
Employed at Ash Grove Cement as an equipment
operator, part of Loennig's duties include the removal
of juniper trees at the Durkee plant site. His logging
business currently utilizes programs offered through
the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) for
private landowners. These involve thinning, removal
of parasitic mistletoe and danger trees, as well as other
ladder fuels helping to protect the larger, healthy trees
from devastating wildfire and disease.
Jana Peterson, a forester with the Oregon Department
of Forestry (ODF) overseeing the NRCS thinning
projects said, "The goal of the program is to reduce the
fuel load and to improve overall forest health. We are
seeking to thin the understory and remove diseased
trees in the overstory to hopefully break the repeated
cycle of disease. Trees less than 8" in diameter are
being taken out as well as those larger trees with
mistletoe and other diseases."
Peterson meets with landowners considering thinning
to discuss the goals and specifications required by the
program. She visits the site regularly during the project
and when complete, inspects it to verify specifications
have been met. If so, Peterson certifies the project,
allowing the landowner to be paid.
Some landowners wish to do the work themselves
and others seek outside contractors. There are two
common practices resulting in the removal of the
understory. Slashbusting utilizes an excavator which
shreds the trees apart, leaving a scattered pile of debris.
It's relatively fast and the nutrient-rich pieces which are
left to decompose return nutrients to the soil.
Loenning, however, prefers to selectively thin the
trees with a chainsaw and stack the slash by hand,
preserving suitable trees for corral poles and firewood
instead of leaving them to decay. Not only does it make
each job more profitable, but it results in a much more
attractive landscape for the landowner and wildlife,
Loennig believes.
"It's a shame not to utilize the trees. I really hate to
see them stacked and burned. It's seems wasteful,"
Loenning said.
He added, "I like to take the time to do a nicer job for
the land owner and to be proud of the work i'y^done
Loennig estimates about 200 cord of firewood will be
harvested from his current project in addition to the
corral poles.
"Sometimes I hear people complain about the job
some logger has done. But I think people need to
remember the landowners are the ones who hire the
loggers. Consider the end result you want," said
Loennig who encourages landowners to look at jobs
completed by the loggers from whom they're seeking
bids instead of automatically going with the cheapest.
Peterson stated both practices (slashbusting and
Loennig's preferred method of completing the work by
hand) meet the goal of the NRCS thinning program to
create healthier forests and reduce fuel loads.
Ultimately, it's up to the landowner to decide.
Loennig is considering the possibility of obtaining a
pelletizer in the future to further increase the usability
of the slash. He also wonders if a pellet plant might be
an opportunity to increase employment opportunities
in Baker County; perhaps even something county
officials might consider.
"We need more jobs and working in the woods can
provide family wage jobs here," said Loenning. He also
believes people need to acknowledge the positive
impact timber dollars have had on schools and the
economy in general.
Loennig is reaping the rewards of responsible
logging on his own property and said, "I enjby looking
out my window at the healthy forest on this property
which has been logged responsibly over the span of
150 years, while sitting in my wood chair, in my wood
house which is heated by Wood. This property is home
to deer, elk, cougars, turkeys, red-tailed hawks, and
grouse. It looks great and will continue to for the next
150 years."
Photo by Debby Schoening
This large tree was blown over in a windstorm on
a family member's property adjacent to Gerald
Loennig's ranch. Instead of leaving it to rot, he
sawed it for for lumber and firewood. He stated it
measured 54". His oldest son, Logan Loennig as­
sisted him.