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ALC Executive Vice President
Daniel J. Dructor
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P.O. Box 966
Hemphill, TX 75948
T: 409.625.0206
F: 409.625.0207

Why Master Logger Certification© matters now

By Ted Wright, Executive Director, Trust to Conserve Northeast Forestlands


Logging has an image problem in America, and every logger knows this.


It wasn’t always this way. Not so long ago, nearly every family in timber-rich areas of the country had at least one member working in the woods.  Logging was understood and accepted, and loggers honored and celebrated as members of a vital and respected profession.


Today, with mechanization the number of loggers has fallen dramatically, relatively few families are in the business, and this once accepted industry is now overlooked, misunderstood or, regrettably, vilified by the public.


Changing this image will not be easy, but it may be one of the most important tasks the logging industry must confront if it is to survive. Wood markets ultimately depend on the public, and when the public starts to question where, how or even whether wood is harvested, the image of logging becomes something we all need to consider. This is where Master Logger Certification© can make a difference, not just for individual loggers, but for our industry as a whole.


Master Logger is about achieving professional standards and third-party verification. It is a program built not simply by taking classes, attending workshops or training sessions, but by demonstrating high quality work in the woods every day. In many cases, businesses that achieve this certification are already meeting the Master Logger standards.  Certification is a means of documenting this ongoing commitment. For these logging enterprises, it provides recognition of the high-quality work they already do. For loggers who do not yet meet the benchmarks and want to improve, it raises the bar for the industry.


Other industries have implemented standards that have elevated their reputation with the public. My wife is a registered nurse and relative newcomer to the logging industry.  Many times, she is asked by coworkers or patients about what I do. She often explains the Master Logger Program by using an analogy about the medical field.  Patients will always prefer using a board-certified physician. Certification in the health field has ensured up-to-date and evidence-based knowledge and practice. The success of the program has led people to expect this level of practice.


The same is true for the Forest Products Industry. By growing brand recognition of Master Logger, the consumer (mill, landowner, or general public) will know their choice of timber harvesting business meets the seven responsibilities of the certification program. The consumer will recognize a Master Logger company as doing the very best for the environment, the forest, the community, and their employees.


Implementing these benchmark measures also allow state and federal regulators to look at our industry as being able to self-regulate, which can lead to the lifting or lightening of external regulations and red tape. This has already begun to happen in certain states. Increased awareness and understanding of Master Logger Certification will only bring greater recognition of our achievements and positive outlook.


In 2017, the American Loggers Council (ALC) decided the time was right to revitalize and promote the Master Logger program nationally to build on the success it has seen in areas of the country where it is already established. This effort is being undertaken to help the logging industry receive recognition for the high-quality work so many loggers are already doing and to reinforce standards that will enable it to improve its image with the public and maintain healthy forests.


American loggers are doing the best work in the world.  The public should know this and value it.  Wood buyers should reward it. In an industry where most of us are working long hours and often six or seven days a week, we have little time for anything that does not get the job done. This is why we must let the work we do stand for itself, and why the work must be recognized. This is what the Master Logger program seeks to accomplish.


In the coming months, this national effort will gain momentum. Existing Master Logger programs will be expanded, and new efforts launched. If there is not a Master Logger program in your area now, there will be soon.


For more information on the Master Logger Program contact Ted Wright at (207) 532-8721 or