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Forest Service, Supervisors, Loggers Meet Tomorrow

Emotions are expected to run high when the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors conduct a study session with representatives of the Stanislaus National Forest in Sonora tomorrow afternoon.

5th District Supervisor Dick Pland says the Board wants to determine if there´s any way to speed up implementation of timber harvest plans in the wake of a new round of layoffs of mill workers announced by Sierra Pacific Industries.

“The Board invited the staff of the Stanislaus National Forest so we could discuss the timber situation and see what opportunities there might be to provide additional timber on the market to ensure our two local sawmills can continue.”

SPI announced that it would temporarily layoff up to 150 workers from its Sonora and Chinese Camp mills because of a dwindling supply of logs. Logging proponents say they´ll stage a rally to call attention to their plight at Courthouse Park starting at 12:30 p.m. SPI spokesman Ed Bond says mill operators would like to see the salvage logging process sped up. Stanislaus National Forest Supervisor Tom Quinn and several mill workers are expected to attend the meeting.

The study session is slated to start at 1:30 p.m. Pland says the Board realizes much of the process may be out of local Forest officials´ hands.

SPI officials say the duration of the layoffs have not yet been determined. Tomorrow´s study session takes place on the 4th floor of the County building and is open to the public to attend.