More than 6000 industry professionals from 37 U.S. states, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Estonia, Finland, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, and Sweden attended the 79th Annual Oregon Logging Conference (OLC), held February 23 – 25, 2017 at the Lane County Events Center and Fairgrounds in Eugene, OR.
Approximately that same number or probably more from local schools and the general public participated in the various activities associated with OLC on Saturday when the show was open free.
“The 79th conference surpasses the successful event from 2016, with more than 250 exhibitors displaying in over 90,000 sq ft. of inside exhibit space and millions of dollars of logging, trucking, construction and heavy equipment displayed on over 14 acres of outside exhibit area,” OLC Conference Manager Rikki Wellman said.
79th Annual OLC President Jeff Wimer said the success of the conference shows that the logging and related industries are thriving. “Quality speakers spoke to packed rooms during the keynote address, panel sessions and seminars, presenting timely information on hot topics in the industry today.” These topics included steep slope logging, state-of-the-art technology, and how to attract a new generation of professionals into the industry.
“Equipment exhibitors were happy with the interactions they had with those attending the conference, and the overall attitude was positive,” Wimer said. “Even the weather cooperated, at least for the most part, during the conference.”
Keynote speaker Merv George Jr., Forest Supervisor of the Six Rivers National Forest in northern California told a capacity crowd that collaboration is a key to moving forward.”If I have a gift, it’s getting people to work together,” George said. “We can do anything when people decide to come together.” He urged more focus on active management on federal land, because without it he predicted more large fires. “The amount of money being spent on fire suppression is staggering,” he said. And he suggested the money being used for fire suppression be put towards timber sales instead.
Oregon Logging Conference Foundation Live Auction held on Thursday and Friday mornings during the opening breakfasts, brought in more than $24,000 for college scholarships for the 2017-2018 school year. Thank you to all of the donors and bidders for your ed