A gathering focused on discussing, maybe discovering, solutions to improving timber management in the West is set for Carey Foster Hall at the Crook County Fairgrounds tonight.
The conference — titled Log It, Graze It, or Watch it Burn — was organized by the Central Oregon Rancher magazine. It is scheduled to include at least three keynote speakers: Craig Woodward, a local natural resources expert with a long career in timber management; Tim Deboodt, the Natural Resource Officer for Crook County; and Wade Fagen, an arborist and former logger, who will discuss Segregated Open Market Breakeven Reconstruive Forestry.
"We have speakers who know the problem firsthand," said Scott Johnson, publisher of the Rancher. "They still remember what forest health looked like."
Johnson added that the goal for the gathering is to find new solutions to timber management, and not necessarily to rail against current practices.
In his promotion of the event, Johnson notes that people are "tired of the massive fires and three months or more of smoke each year (and) many are tired of losing the income that helps fund the land management and spending it on fire fighting."
Doors at Carey Foster Hall will open at 3 p.m. and speakers are scheduled to begin at 6:30.
Johnson said the ignition for Tuesday's event was a Facebook page he established during the summer with the same "Log It, Graze It or Watch it Burn" title that got more than 26,000 shares. Many people, said Johnson, wanted to get people together to discuss solutions.
Johnson indicated that input from those on hand will be collected and "all solutions will be hand-delivered to our elected officials in Washington, D.C."