Workshop Connects Contractors with Forest Jobs
New employment opportunities in the woods were the focus of a recent contractor’s workshop organized by the U.S. Forest Service, the Montana Logging Association and several conservation and community development groups.
The two-day workshop in Seeley Lake alerted local contractors to employment opportunities in the region as well as provided tips and information to help them navigate the contracting process.
“The different types of contracts and the many application forms can be downright confusing,” said Jason Todhunter, Safety Management Consultant for the Montana Logging Association, whose group is helping to sponsor the workshop. “We want to ensure contractors know how to put their best foot forward when applying for upcoming projects.” All participants received 16 Accredited Logging Professional credits for the 2-day conference.
The workshop came at a good time. Employment opportunities are on the horizon thanks to a new forest restoration program in the Southwestern Crown of the Continent which encompasses portions of the Lolo, Helena, and Flathead National Forests.
The Southwestern Crown Collaborative (SWCC) is helping guide and plan the scope of this work over the next decade and predicts a number of projects will be available for bid in the coming months.
“These projects would be tackling noxious weeds, improving degraded trails and roads, and helping reduce fuel loads in the forests,” said Tim Love, Seeley Lake District Ranger who will oversee some of the work on his district.
A representative of the SWCC was at the workshop and explained how the group is bringing private and public investments into the region to fund forest restoration work. The collaborative is composed of economic development firms, conservation groups, federal and state land agencies, timber groups, land trusts, and the University of Montana.