There may not be a more energetic time for the timber industry around the country than National Forest Products Week. The annual event, always the third week of October, is a tribute to the country's forest products industry and the 900,000 American workers who make the industry such a critical piece of the U.S. economy.
This years's event, Oct. 19-25, includes timber tours, industry fairs, student training sessions, lectures and charity home builds, from Kentucky and Florida to Montana, Idaho and Oregon.
The lack of federal forest management is hurting rural communities across the West, and Skamania County, Wash., is among the worst hit in the country.
Time after time, local leaders call on the U.S. Forest Service to start finally managing the surrounding Gifford Pinchot National Forest and make it the economic engine it's set in law to be. Now, after years of neglect, the county last week declared a state of emergency.
The declaration from the Skamania County Board of Commissioners was necessary because of "unhealthy forest conditions, yearly threat of catastrophic fires, and, minimal county government, schools and emergency services."
We already know that the private forest land in Washington State plays a vital role in the carbon cycle. Now with biomass fuel we can make use of these working forests for another carbon positive process, power generation. Biomass boilers use harvest and milling by products to generate steam as an alternative to fossil fuels.