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Timber Industry Vies For Lawmaker Attention

Heikki Valve

Northern timber workers are heading to the capitol Wednesday, hoping to remind lawmakers of the importance of their industry.  

Advocacy group Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association is organizing the trip.  Director Henry Schoenebeck says the group plans to bus 150 people to Madison and park several logging trucks around the capitol. They’ll even bring along special virtual reality machine called a harvester operator simulator, that mimics the experience of cutting down a tree. 

“The legislators and staff can come down and can get a feel of what it’s like to manage a forest. It’s almost like a real time video game – that they can actually sit in and actually look like they’re operating the machine, and electronically cut a tree down and process it, that type of thing.”

The envoy will include loggers, log-haulers, foresters, and manufacturers.  Schoenebeck explains the point is to give lawmakers a better sense of what’s important to the industry. 

“It’s amazing that a lot of our legislators don’t understand that the forest products industry is the second largest industry in the state, and it’s actually growing.”

Schoenebeck says top issues include rural infrastructure, workforce development, and forest health.  

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