Ken Martin – President, American Loggers Council
It is said that opportunity knocks. We have new leadership in Washington with the election of President Trump. As this new, pro-business administration moves forward putting appointments in place, we are very hopeful that many of the issues we have talked about and lobbied for, may finally be heard and acted upon.
We see the opportunity for improving the management of our forests, including setting new policy that directs timber harvest, reducing hazardous fuels, and thinning to keep our forests healthy and vigorous for those who enjoy hiking, fishing, hunting and other forms of recreation. We have seen, for far too long, the effects of not having active management of our National Forests and other Public Lands. The result is the astronomical cost of fighting wildfires which has skyrocketed the last few years. The U.S. Forest Service is forced to spend much needed forest management funds on fighting wildfires. It is actually pretty simple – the lack of forest management is contributing to increase in wildfires and the cost of fighting them. As President Trump’s choices unfold, we are mostly encouraged by a change in philosophy from preservation and setting aside to conservation. We all want to enjoy the beauty of our vast natural resources, fully expecting that our forests be managed.
For many years we have seen how inter-connected our industry is with transportation. We now have the opportunity to address an aging and crumbling infrastructure system. We must continue to fight for funding for rural roads and bridges that are so vital to the transportation of our forest products. We need a safe, reliable highway system on the Federal, State and Local level. We need reasonable trucking regulations as they pertain to logging transportation issues. Our interstate system as built to a higher standard to transport heavier loads for a better flow of traffic through congested areas. We need a federal standard for the transportation of forest products on our interstate system that takes out local politics. Everyone is seeking revenue. We must step up and speak of the impact that the neglect of rural roads and bridges is having on the forest products industry.
With the change in administration, opportunity will hopefully come with leadership understanding the consequences of overregulation. It has been said that government regulations are the biggest obstacle and cost to business growth and expansion. Put simply, regulations cost businesses millions of dollars each year.
Take advantage of this new opportunity to let your thoughts be heard. America was once a world leader in technology, manufacturing, and military strength. Today we stand at the threshold of a new day with an opportunity to step forward and renew our leadership in the world. This is our chance to stand up and be heard. Opportunity has knocked. Become proactive for issues affecting our forest products industry. Do not let opportunity pass you by.
Ken Martin is the President of the American Loggers Council. Ken, his wife Sandy and sons Brent and Brad own and operate Mar-Cal, Inc. with headquarters in Mendenhall, Mississippi. Brent and Brad having much of the day-to-day management of the family-owned timber management/harvesting operations.
The American Loggers Council is a 501 (c)(6) not for profit trade association representing professional timber harvesters and log truckers in 32 states across the United States with headquarters near Hemphill, Texas.