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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



Spotlight on Rocky Bunnell: ALC Board Member, Industry Advocate and Certified Master Logger Business owner

by Ted Wright, Executive Director, Trust to Conserve Northeast Forestlands and Jennifer Hartsig, Coordinator, American Master Logger Certification© Program

 

When Rocky Bunnell got out of the Air Force in 1973 he considered different careers, but his father Bill Bunnell was trucking timber and he decided to first help him out. As is often the case in the woods business, one thing led to another, and it wasn’t long before he bought his own truck.

 

“Next thing you knew I had crews cutting wood and I was trucking it just like he did, and then later on I got right out of the trucking and I went strictly to the woods,” Rocky recalled recently as he looked back over the four-plus decades he has spent in the timber industry – years that have taken him from that small start to owning his own Master Logger certified logging operation and being honored by the American Loggers Council (ALC) for his efforts on behalf of loggers in Washington D.C.

 

Rocky became a Master Logger after he first learned of the program through Verso Paper, and the quality of work and respect for the forest that Master Logger Certification© epitomizes serves his company well.  “The quality of work right now is a big thing for landowners, that personal touch and going the extra mile” Rocky said.  “When good logging is done you can’t beat it if you want to talk about helping the environment – you’re doing a lot more than just logging.  When the job is done and they’ve got a piece of property that they very much like and they still use, it means a lot to them.”  Rocky is part of the American Loggers Council endorsed Master Logger Certification© Committee representing New Hampshire, and is helping to advocate for the growth of the program nationwide. “Master Logger Certification© has a future and getting more people to understand it and utilize it is important for it to make a big impact.”

 

Rocky grew up on a farm in Vermont logging with his family using horses. In the late 1960s his father got into buying, selling and trucking wood and moved across the Connecticut River to Monroe, New Hampshire. Rocky started out doing the same in Monroe, but over the years he ramped up; first adding subcontractors with cable skidders, then buying his own slasher, then buying his first skidder. Eventually he reached the point where all the equipment and the workers on his jobs were part of Rocky Bunnell Logging. Today, Rocky has switched gears a bit and now works with his son Heath and his Certified Master Logger company, HB Logging LLC.  “Heath is strongly independent and I’m very independent.  He’s in his prime right now and has grown his company larger than mine was.  We’re connecting daily and I’m really enjoying being on the jobs”. 

 

Over the years Rocky became involved in organizations concerned with logging including the New Hampshire Timber Harvest Council (NHTHC), largely due to a friendship with veteran New Hampshire logger Dan Keniston. In time, this grew into his participation with Northeastern Loggers Association (NELA) and the American Loggers Council (ALC).  Rocky continues his long time involvement with these Associations,  currently serving as the 2nd Vice President for NELA, and as the NELA representative on the ALC  Board of Directors.

 

Rocky enjoys working with loggers from across the US and has become well-known for his trips to speak plainly on behalf of loggers in Washington D.C. where loggers meet with elected officials to advocate for the industry.  Being involved and informed is critical right now for loggers given how challenging the markets are, Rocky says: “If you didn’t vote and you’re not involved, you’re in trouble.”

 

In 2016, Rocky was honored by the ALC with the President’s Award for his leadership and service promoting more participation in the ALC’s Spring DC Fly-In.  He remains passionate about the need for industry advocacy at all levels and also enjoys the comradery that getting together with his peers from across the country.  Of his involvement with NHTHC, NELA and ALC, Rocky feels a sense of accomplishment that hearing from the loggers is making a difference.  “Dan Keniston took my hand and showed me the ropes, but he was one guy going alone. Next thing you know I saw an opportunity (to become more involved).  Since then, I’ve met other good people and I think its stronger than it’s ever been”

 

Over the years the job has become about more than just cutting wood for this avid conservationist. “I’m a big outdoorsman. I like the outdoors and my family is that way and I like it when landowners want to do something for the wildlife. You’ve got your marketplace and you’ve got your habitat and you can make the two of them go hand in hand pretty easy”.  

 

Rocky enjoys sharing his lifetime of skills and knowledge with family, clients and elected officials.  Whether it’s hunting with grandchildren, meeting with a landowner or advocating for his industry, “That’s a passion right there, just trying to educate people. Once they see it and take the time to study it and see what it’s all about”. 

© AMERICAN LOGGERS COUNCIL, 2019