65TH Annual... Sierra-Cascade Logging Conference

Shasta District Fairgrounds
Anderson, ­California

By Mike Crouse

A crowd of around 230 ushered in the 65th Annual Sierra-Cascade Logging Conference opening ceremonies at the Ginn Fizz Breakfast and were greeted by the first measurable rainfall in a very long while, significant with the prolonged drought affecting most of the area for some while.

The rain didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd, in fact it brought smiles.

Jed Gibson again served as emcee for the event, which got off to quick start starting with recognition awards typically reserved for later in the program. Ted James was recognized with the Tom Jarrett Award; Shaney Emerson was honored with the Roy Derek Berridge Award; and the SCLC Logger of the Year recognized Gary Warner. The change in order of presentations was immediately clear as all were involved with the SCLC education day teaching and guiding 750 local school youth through the displays and events running for their benefit that day.

Kathie Muse was president of this year’s conference, the first woman to hold that position. “I’ve very honored I’m the first woman president,” Muse said addressing the opening festivities. “You guys are like family to me,” and everything worked without a visible snag. The conference has operated the past few years entirely with volunteers and the Board of Directors.

Keynote speaker for the conference was Rocky Slaughter with Sugar Pine Media, a public relations agency located in Redding, which has been nationally recognized for excellence. He noted that the general public is “shamefully uninformed,” and has “no idea what their neighbors do.” Slaughter noted, “There was a time when people knew about you and loved you!! The logging industry was a big part of the economy,” and most were well aware of its importance.

“The public is inundated with information,” he continued, and as a whole people have become immune. “Misinformation is a separate business,” pointing to reality TV. “Who tells your story?”

Not only who tells the story, but the use of words in telling it. “Words matter,” Slaughter said, “words mean perception, just through (your choice) of words you can approve or kill anything.”

In taking a lead from what’s occurred with re-branding in the gaming (formerly referred to as the gambling) business, and the energy (also known as the oil) industry, he explained that rebranding is focusing on results rather than the process.

“If they approve the premise,” Slaughter explained of public perception, “people will give you permission to tell your story. Focus on your results, not your process!” And tell the truth.

He suggested emphasizing results, “...put your best foot forward... the giving tree,” for instance. “The forest will continue to flourish.

“If the public knew,” he repeated, “tell the trugh, find the right words, put your best foot forward. Everyone is responsible for being a good story teller.”

There were a number of seminars and training programs in store, some of which were presented on Wednesday before the official kickoff.

One of the most interesting of those presentations included a panel of three state agencies and and three contract loggers, with the surprising amount of candidness and open appeal from those agencies to work towards problem collaboratively, and finding solutions. Communications is the key. Panel member Stacy Stanish with California’s Wildlife Department, noted, “...when things go right we’re all speaking to each other. Things go smoothly. When there’s no communications, things can go wrong.”

Crowds at the conference were fair the first few days, and improved greatly on the conferences open to the public day on Saturday.
Our compliments to the SCLC board of directors and this year’s president Kathie Muse, and her solid crew of volunteers for putting on a great show.