Houlton Pioneer Times

Maine training programs support forest safety, sustainability

HOULTON, Maine — We often take for granted the loads of logs and wood chips that go up and down our roads on a regular basis. We assume that there is no end to the resource that powers our mills and our forest economy.

However, over 20 years ago people began to realize that the forest economy was suffering from unsafe logging practices and damage to the forest environment. The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) plus similar initiatives took a leadership role in addressing these issues. These initiatives also began working to assure the public that they were buying products that were sourced safely and responsibly.

Pat Sirois, Director of Maine SFI says “Today the issue of sustainability is more important than ever with a forest based industry in Maine that is reinvigorated with paper mills expanding having diversified their product lines with tissue, release papers and containerboard. The lumber sector’s productivity is up as well. More than ever, this industry will need loggers who know how to work safely, productively and be sensitive to environmental issues.”

In Maine, CLP (Certified Logging Professional) and QLP (Qualified Logging Professional) took up the challenge to train loggers and landowners in the principles of safety and forest health that were becoming increasingly important to the public. Locally, QLP will continue this mission by offering a 32 hour SFI certification course this winter and spring (2019). This course is open to any local landowner or logger who puts a premium on his or her personal safety and on the sustainability of their forest land.

The classes run one evening per week and begin Jan. 29, 2019. Classes will be facilitated by Maine Forest Service, safety, and industry personnel. If you are a supplier to an SFI-approved mill, the fee for the QLP course, a field interview and SFI certification is $350. Other fee options are available for loggers and landowners who do not require the certification.

For more information about and to register, contact Houlton Hodgdon Adult and Community Education at the Houlton Higher Education Center at 207-521-3100 x5.

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