In Memoriam: George McNelly
In memory of George McNelly, highly respected tree farmer, long time Pacific County Chapter board member, long time Lewis County Chapter member, historian of logging and lumbering industries, and most of all a cherished leader, mentor, and friend.
This is being written by Greg Pattillo as the McNelly Tree Farm in Pacific County and the Pattillo Tree Farm were neighbors. George passed away on February 20, 2021 from complications of a stroke he suffered a few days earlier. George was very active and gave a lot of time and effort to the Pacific County Farm Forestry Association, where he got to know every Tree Farmer in the county on a personal basis. My Wife and I were officers in the Chapter for a number of years, and anytime we would call on him for help with a meeting, or a picnic, or a fair booth he was always ready to help. With his bright personality he loved talking to other tree farmers, about any subject, but especially logging and logging equipment and logging history. He attended all Pacific Chapter meetings, but also many Lewis Chapter meetings with his tree farmer friends Nick Somero and Victor Neimcziek. George was my favorite banker starting about 30 years ago and it was there he took a great interest in logging equipment and talking with the local loggers. He would say to me let's go to the equipment show at the Oregon Logging Conference and "smell the new paint". George and I swapped some older machines like skidders between ourselves, but there wasn't much new paint on them. He and I also loaned hundreds of books to each other; usually about logging or timber company history, and some western novels. George did a lot of reading! He always brightened my day with his many visits to my place.
George was born in Winlock in Lewis County in January of 1943. His father was a well known "gyppo" logger or small contract logger doing small logging jobs around the area, and had a contract for a long time with Port Blakely Mill Company where he did some of their first commercial thinnings. I find it really fascinating that George knew some of the original founding members of Washington Farm Forestry Association personally as a young guy around Winlock. Most notably that would be George England of Winlock. George also had a beautifully managed 20 acre timberland near Winlock for many years which he only recently sold in the Fall of 2020. The family still has the Pacific County property.
I am glad to have had a close association with George McNelly along with all the other tree farmers, it has made life much more interesting.
For the latest information from Chapter President Nick Somero, see the Fall Newsletter.
Most members of the Pacific County Farm Forestry Chapter are represented in the Washington Legislature by Senator Jeff Wilson and Reps. Joel McEntire and Jim Walsh. If you are interested in following what is going on during this year's virtual legislative session, you may be interested in getting on their email newsletters so that you will receive future messages such as this one from Rep. Walsh, which contains many valuable links to watching and participating in the virtual legislative session.
University of Washington Maple Syrup Study
It turns out a fair number of small landowners are tapping their maples for fun, but not too many have looked at it for profit. The University of Washington hopes to change that. They have established a research project aimed at identifying the opportunities and obstacles to developing a maple syrup industry in the Pacific Northwest. To that end they have partnered with east coast maple sugar production experts and engaged WFFA to identify research sites and willing landowners to test various systems that could address the vagaries of our climate and species. Data generated by the study will be used to identify successful strategies for tapping maples in a temperate rainforest climate. If successful, it would be another way to generate income from your forests while bringing the sweetness of west coast big leaf maple syrup to the world. That would be a good thing as the taste is unique and frankly fabulous!
The 3 year project will collect data on the volume of sap and syrup that can be produced taking into account (1) variation in elevation, latitude, and climatic zones (2) collection methods using traditional bucket collection vs. high vacuum tubing systems, (3) size and health of bigleaf maple trees, and (4) timing of tapping and strategies for re-tapping trees throughout the season (December-March). These data will be used to characterize the costs and benefits involved in starting a maple sugaring enterprise in the PNW and to learn the successful strategies for tapping maples in a temperate rainforest climate.
Courtesy of Elaine Oneil.
Regional Partnership Program Brings Technical & Financial Assistance to
Small Forest Landowners in Southwest Washington
The Southwest Washington Small Forest Lands Conservation Partnership is a voluntary and incentive based program with the focus of providing technical & financial assistance to Small Forest Landowners in eight Southwest Washington counties― Pacific, Grays Harbor, Wahkiakum, Mason, Thurston, Lewis, Cowlitz and Clark. The Southwest Washington Small Forest Lands Conservation Partnership is part of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Regional Conservation Partnership Program or RCPP. RCPP utilizes NRCS funding within a geographic area/region and leverages contributions from partners to deliver the program. This is a joint effort by the Washington Dept. of Natural Resources, Washington State Conservation Commission & eight Conservation Districts, Washington State University Extension, and Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife.
The Southwest Washington Small Forest Lands Conservation Partnership provides funding for four Stewardship foresters to help landowners develop Forest Management Plans and financial assistance to assist in the implementation of Forest Management Plans. Financial assistance is available to implement a variety of stewardship practices to improve forest health, water quality, and wildlife habitat. Stewardship practices include but are not limited to density management, vegetation control, improving wildlife habitat and others intended to help landowners meet their stewardship goals/objectives and improve the health and productivity of the forest. Financial assistance is available through NRCS’s Environment Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). The Family Forest Fish Passage Program (FFFPP) through DNR is available to correct fish passage barriers. Forest Conservation Easements through the NRCS Healthy Forests Reserve Program (HFRP) are also available.
The following is a map detailing the project & work areas. Each work area has been assigned a Stewardship forester to assist landowners within the designated counties. For more information on this and other programs and opportunities contact the Pacific & Grays Harbor Conservation District:
Grays Harbor Conservation District
330 W Pioneer Ave
Montesano, WA 98563
President: Nick Somero
Vice President: vacant
Sec/Treasurer: David Powell
Board Member: Steve Huber
Board Member: Jim Hillery
Board Member: Rex Hutchins
Board Member: Robert Falkner
Membership, Historian: Victor Niemcziek
Report on August 2018 Tour
Members visited the Grabski Tree Farm, a beautifully managed stand of Douglas-fir planted in 1984. It was thinned early on, and all remaining trees were pruned up at least 20' in the 1990's. The entire Grabski family was involved in this, including the late John Grabski, as well as several local forestry workers. It was impressive and worth seeing.