MDC names Summersville men Loggers of the Year

JEFFERSON CITY Mo – Loggers throughout the state play important roles in keeping Missouri forests healthy and sustainable. In recognition of outstanding performance by Missouri loggers, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) presents annual regional and state Logger of the Year awards.

The 2011 Missouri Logger of the Year state award is being shared by Jay Duncan, Gene Fiske Sr. and Gene Fiske Jr. of J&G Logging in Summersville. The three men received multiple nominations and were named Loggers of the Year for MDC’s Ozark Region earlier in 2011.

“MDC recognizes and appreciates loggers who use best practices to harvest timber in ways that are economically, ecologically and socially sustainable,” said Missouri State Forester and MDC Forestry Division Chief Lisa Allen. “The statewide Logger of the Year award is the highest honor loggers can achieve in Missouri. It takes special conviction to being the best to achieve this honor, and we congratulate these outstanding loggers. ”

The awards are given to loggers who demonstrate good working relationships with landowners and foresters, cause minimal damage to remaining trees and resources on harvest sites, use best management practices to conserve soil and water, address wildlife management concerns, practice sustainable forest management and use wood products wisely.

“For Jay, Gene Sr. and Gene Jr., these traits are a way of life,” said Missouri Forest Products Association (MFPA) President Tony Parks, who nominated the men. “J&G’s desire is to make harvesting a pleasurable experience for the landowner and logger. They are receptive to concerns and instructions from the landowner.”

One of the projects that J&G Logging recently worked was a sensitive and high-profile thinning operation in a virgin pine area of Pioneer Forest near the Current River and close to Highway 19. The site included trees more than 250 years old that were being left in the stand.

Pioneer Forest is the largest private landowner in the state. Brandon Kuhn, a Pioneer professional forester, also nominated the loggers based on how impressed he was with their work.

“J&G is the best I have worked with at shutting themselves down when it is too wet to work,” Kuhn said. “As a forester, it is very difficult to tell loggers to go home because of wet conditions knowing they only get paid when they work. It is truly a blessing when loggers make this decision on their own.”

The Nature Conservancy Ozarks Preserve Manager Neal Humke, who also nominated the men, inspected the logging operation and noted, “It was good to see that J&G was putting in the effort and time that it took to do it right, leaving a stand of timber that Pioneer Forest can continue to be proud of.”

J&G Logging has also completed several timber sales on Sunklands and Angeline conservation areas in Shannon County. MDC Forester Michael Bill, who also nominated the men, said, “They are very concerned about the forest resource.”

Missouri Logger of the Year recipients receive framed certificates from MDC and a Stihl chainsaw donated by Crader Distributing in Marble Hill. J&G Logging received the award at an MFPA meeting in Branson.

MDC recognizes Loggers of the Year in each of its eight regions. Those selected are then eligible for the statewide award. Loggers must be nominated by a professional forester. For more information on the MDC Logger of the Year Award criteria and process, visit www.mdc.mo.gov.