The Northeast Master Logger Certification Program, a program of the Trust to Conserve Northeast Forestlands (TCNEF), held four hands-on Water Protection Workshops in Maine, Vermont and New York this spring and early summer, with a fifth planned for this fall in New Hampshire.

The workshops have drawn 150 attendees so far and been well received: On evaluations, almost all attendees found the workshops relevant, said they would recommend them to a friend, and rated them an average of 9 on a scale of 10 overall.

Workshops were held at the following times and locations:

  ∙May 19, 2022 – Fort Kent, ME

  ∙May 20, 2022 – Passadumkeag, ME

  ∙June 1, 2022 – Stowe, VT

  ∙June 2, 2022 – Tupper Lake, VT

Professional logging contractors in the Northeast routinely face challenges associated with streams and wetlands when conducting timber harvests and have great expertise when it comes to logging without impacting water quality on the job site and in waters downstream. Building and maintaining stream crossings that minimize runoff are an important part of that, and the workshops are an opportunity not only for loggers to refresh their skills, but to share their own experiences and ideas with the greater logging community.

“Master Loggers take the job of protecting water quality very seriously and work hard to protect the watersheds where they are harvesting,” Ted Wright, Executive Director of the Trust to Conserve Northeast Forestlands, which oversees the Master Logger program, said. “Loggers are the ones with the most experience in the field building stream crossings and these workshops are a great opportunity for them not only to improve their knowledge on the subject, but to share the valuable lessons they have learned on the job with others.”

The workshops were open to employees, foremen and owners of Master Logger certified companies, and others. Topics covered in the workshops included stream crossings, harvesting near water, oil spill prevention and containment practices, and fire fighting for loggers.

Workshops were free to Master Logger companies and generously sponsored by the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities. Other partners in the workshops who provided materials, instructors or other support included the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, Maine Forest Service, the Vermont Forest, Parks and Recreation Department, Louisiana-Pacific Corp., Voisine Bros. Inc., Madden Timberlands, and American Forest Management.

The workshops could be applied toward requirements of the Master Logger program and those of other associations.

Prizes and giveaways included a temporary wooden skidder bridge awarded to a logging company at each workshop.

Master Logger Stevens Forest Products in Sidney ME attended one of the 2021 series of Master Logger workshops and owner Alan Stevens found it very worthwhile.

“If I am going to take a day off from work in the woods for a workshop, it needs to be valuable to my crew. I appreciate the interactive nature of these BMP workshops, I need to see and be shown things in the field, that’s how I learn, I enjoyed these workshops, they were valuable to me and my son,” Alan said.