The recent modification to the Sierra Nevada Framework management plan by the U.S. Forest Service has stirred outrage by environmentalists who found out the Forest Service had hired a San Francisco-based public relations firm to help promote their new plan.
But, the possibility of increased forest logging and thining could have a positive effect on Tuolumne County lumber mills and the local economy.
Tuolumne County Supervisor Dick Pland says it won´t all happen overnight. “It will increase gradually and some of the local mills — certainly here in Tuolumne County — have the potential to expand or utilize more hours,” he said. “As far as the woods operations are concerned, we have a lot of skilled workers around here still and a lot of good equipment and I think they are up to the task.”
Pland also predicts an possible economic up-turn and new jobs for Tuolumne County. He cautioned, there is still some serious “utilization-capacity problems” regarding this program.
Pland — who is retired from 30-plus years in the timber industry — has been District 5 Supervisor for more than seven years. He says it´s fortunate Tuolumne County sawmills are still in operation and not shut down.
“Unfortunately in a lot of areas it´s too late,” Pland said. He listed recently shut down saw mills in Northern California, such as Susanville, Loyalton, Burney.
Pland said he has been involved in a half a dozen mills closures during his timber career. “Once you shut a mill down, it closed. The equipment´s gone, and most important, your skilled labor force is gone – saw filers, sawyers and so on,” he explained.
Supervisor Pland will be the featured guest Sunday morning on Mother Lode Views, the weekly radio local issues program. The program is broadcast on AM 1450 KVML at 7 a.m., Star 92.7 FM at 9 a.m., and on KKBN 35.5 FM at 10 a.m.