By Bill Williams, Deputy Executive Director  

     Maine Woodland Owners recently donated a full truckload of firewood to the Cumberland Wood Bank, with the 10 cords of wood coming from a harvest on a Cumberland woodlot owned by Maine Woodland Owners. “This donation of firewood was made possible by a cooperative effort that will certainly help Maine people in the Cumberland area heat their homes this winter,” said Maine Woodland Owners Executive Director Tom Doak. “We are honored to support such a worthy cause”.  

     Although, as a non-profit organization, Maine Woodland Owners could apply for tax-exempt status, it chooses to pay property taxes on its landholdings to support local communities. The opportunity to support the Cumberland area through the Wood Bank seemed to be another way of showing that support.  

     Also aiding in the donation were Todd Seavey,owner of Seavey Forest Products, who cut and yarded the wood, and Roger Lund of R.A. Lund Trucking, who delivered it to the Wood Bank’s processing yard.  Greg and Cliff Foster, owners of Timberstate G, who managed the harvest, also assisted.  

     The Cumberland Wood Bank was formed in 2007 by Maine Woodland Owners member Bruce Wildes and Rev. Diane Bennekamper, minister of the Congregational Church of Cumberland, to aid an elderly woman who had no furnace or wood for her stove. They purchased logs to meet her needs, then sold surplus firewood to church members, giving the proceeds to the Samaritan Fund for fuel assistance. In its first year, the wood bank delivered four cords of firewood, and has grown rapidly since then, and will deliver a projected 65 cords to needy families this winter. 

     “We and those we help depend upon the generosity of people and organizations like Maine Woodland Owners for our program to work,” said wood bank Executive Director Bruce Wildes. 

     The harvest occurred on 105 acres donated to Maine Woodland Owners by Margaret Merrill in 2010. Logging equipment used by Todd Seavey to harvest the lot was a combination of units best suited to the property. Together, the system of harvesting is called a “cut-to-length” operation.   

     One unit is a processor that fells, delimbs, measures and cuts the logs or pulpwood to length. It has a computerized system which assists in many operations, including calculating log lengths. On steep slopes, the wheels of the unit are re-positioned by computer to keep the machine as level as possible (See photo.) 

     The unit with an on-board log loader is a forwarder. The operator loads the “cut-to-length” – hence the name – logs, pulp and firewood. There’s no need to turn the second machine around, since the seat and controls in the cab can be swiveled to face either direction, although backing is best performed empty as vision can be obstructed otherwise. At the log landing, there’s no need to further process lengths. The forwarder operator unloads and separates all timber by product.  

     A third machine was also on site, a typical cable skidder used to twitch trees from difficult areas, such as steep slopes. Logs and pulp are still moved from forest to landing by the forwarder. In addition to twitching difficult trees, the skidder operator cuts trees too large to handle with the processor with a chainsaw. Todd Seavey contracts the transporting of products to a local independent trucker; for this operation he chose Roger Lund of R.A. Lund Trucking.  

     The result is a clean harvest site with most of the  brush left in the trails. Brush is packed down by the large machines running over the trails.  

     Although softwood pulp markets are tight, Greg Foster and Seavey “did a great job finding markets,” said Doak, allowing use of hemlock down to small diameters. He complimented the Fosters and Todd Seavey for a well-planned and executed harvest. 

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