Area man heads state logging organization |

Area man heads state logging organization

ALL | GrassValleyArchive

A North Bloomfield-area man has been named head of a statewide logging organization.

Jim Miller, 50, was elected president of Associated California Loggers, a Sacramento organization representing more than 500 logging and log trucking businesses, most with less than 20 employees.

He was voted president at the group’s annual meeting in January.

Miller is owner of Spar Tree Forestry, a family logging business that employs six.

He started the company six years ago after working for Robinson Enterprises, a Nevada City company, as a contract timber faller. Miller got his start in the logging business 30 years ago when he started working for Robinson.

The timber industry is a different industry now, with diminished timber harvests from U.S. Forest Service land, intense competition from foreign producers and opposition from environmentalists.

“I think our biggest goal right now is just to keep it from going any further down the tubes than we already have,” Miller said.

He said loggers used to cut 1.6 billion to 1.9 billion board feet of lumber from USFS lands in the 1980s. That harvest has shrunk to 250 million board feet in recent years.

Logging on private land has somewhat countered the decline, including timber harvests in Nevada County, Miller said. Logging wages in the county held steady from 1994 to 1999, when the Commerce Department reported that wages of $12.6 million were paid to people working in lumber and wood products. Total wages paid in 1999 for all industries in Nevada County were $1.2 billion.

As association president, Miller plans to continue lobbying the U.S. Forest Service to allow more timber harvesting, including salvageable trees in wildfire areas.

He also hopes to convince more loggers to sign up for Master Logger certification, a program that trains loggers in environmental protection and better business practices.

Miller said he expects that lumber retailers will eventually move to certify that their lumber is from properly managed forests, which will require certified loggers.

Miller will also represent California loggers on the American Loggers Council’s board and meet with state forestry officials on regulatory matters.

Miller was chairman of the association’s Gold Country chapter and has served as association vice president and as a board member.

The association’s board picked Miller in January because he has been in the logging business a long time, is well known by association members, and has leadership qualities, said Ed Ehlers, the association’s executive director.

Miller said it’s just his turn.

“I’ve been around long enough,” he said.

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