timber theft, forester licensing is needed

Dennis McKenney d_mckenney at conknet.com
Fri Oct 2 08:24:19 EST 1998


Is forester licensing enough to deal with the timber theft issue?  I don't
think so. Here in NH,  where we live free or die, we  have had licensing for
nearly 10 years. I supported it as a better way to go than a forest
practices act. I think it makes more sense to regulate the practicioner than
the practice.

On the issue of tresspass, timber theft and fraud, I do not believe our
state forestry agency has the will to enforce the laws now on the books.
When asked this year to support their recommended changes in our timber
theft statute I took them at their word and testified before the house and
senate in support. The state forester testified the changes were needed to
allow enforcement since the existing language had worked against them.

Now I am waiting to see how aggressively they will pursue timber thieves.

I note that nationally this problem has been getting much more attention and
some states have actually put individuals behind bars following conviction.
Wow, what a change. Here in NH they ignore the problem and the 'skill' gets
passed down to the next generation. I regularly  get the one finger salute
from some such individuals.

The ACF chapter in Pennsylvania is putting together a one day seminar on the
problem and it is scheduled to take place very soon. They had 60 plus sign
on.   But the problem needs alot more than talk to control  and eliminate.
Accidental trespass is not the problem; the problem is the deliberate theft
of stumpage. I have seen plenty in the last decade and, without agressive
enforcement, this crime does pay.





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