American Loggers Council "As We See It"
When the American Loggers Council (ALC) was formed back in 1994, the original members were all State and Regional logging associations. The driving force was the roll out by the American Forest and Paper Association, of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), that among other provisions mandated logger certification.
The overwhelming opposition to a mandated certification program with little to no economic compensation spread like a California wildfire. Loggers from around the country met in St. Louis and a core group was appointed to draft a set of by-laws for the group to review at a following meeting back in St Louis. That second meeting was held and the ALC was officially formed. Many of the founding ALC members knew each other from regional logging groups, or from attending the SFI workshops being held around the country. As the SFI certification morphed into a training and education program, the ALC remained at the forefront of “attempting” to have the program be a “positive” for the participating loggers. As the years passed the ALC grew stronger and SFI became less and less of a focus.
In the following years, the ALC began shifting its focus to governmental regulatory and legislative issues, among other functions. In conjunction with the change in missions at ALC, the Membership Committee endeavored to recruit allied supporting members such as equipment companies, insurance companies, and a host of logging related participants. The committee also worked to recruit logging groups around the country that were not part of the chartered membership. The committee and the ALC Board of Directors also saw a strong need to assist States or Regions that did not have an active logging group that met the ALC membership criterion. This was the founding concept behind the “individual” membership category. The ALC felt that if loggers in a state were not represented by a loggers group, they could join as individuals, and participate in ALC activities with the goal of eventually forming their own association. The ALC felt these loggers would benefit from the camaraderie, exposure, and association with the member organizations and a pledge was made to assist any group undertaking this action.
While several States took advantage of the offer and attempted to organize, to date, there have not been any new groups formed, but the commitment by ALC remains strong to support this program. As a side benefit, there have been a number of loggers who have joined as individual members from both nonmember and member States. The Individual Members have a representative seat, with a vote, on the ALC Board of Directors. This delegate is elected annually by vote of the individual members. For the past few years that representative has been Donny Reaves from Virginia, a member of the Virginia Loggers Association. Loggers join individually for a host of reasons, but many simply believe in the cause and mission of the ALC and wish to support any way they can.
Are you a logger who wants to organize a State Association? Do you believe in the legislative mission of the ALC and have a desire to support the cause beyond your State or Regional membership? If your answer is yes to either question we encourage you to visit our web site and complete the Individual Logger Membership form and return it to our office. If you wish to know more about the ALC and our causes and missions, sign on to our web site at Americanloggers.org, contact our office, or call any current ALC member.
Many in our industry were skeptical that a group of independent loggers could ever come together for common causes. After 20 years the ALC and the long line of leaders who have dedicated their time and energy to the organization, have proven them wrong. Today the ALC remains strong, progressive, and effective as the voice of loggers from coast to coast. I encourage you to join the cause and sign on. We are stronger in numbers.
Jim Money is a Past-President of the American Loggers Council, Chair of the ALC Communications Committee, and the Director for the Virginia Loggers Association based out of Palmyra, Virginia.
The American Loggers Council is a non-profit 501(c) (6) corporation representing professional timber harvesters in 30 states across the US. For more information, visit their web site at www.americanloggers.org or contact their office at 409-625-0206.