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This week, Gov. Sununu nominated Patrick Hackley to be the next New Hampshire State Forester, a position previously held by Brad Simpkin, who transferred to the U.S. Forest Service earlier this year.
Most recently, Patrick was associate director for land conservation for the New Hampshire chapter of the Nature Conservancy. Prior to that he was a timberland broker for Fountains Land and a forester for the Forest Resources Association. From 1993 to 1999 he was communications director at the NHTOA.
The NHTOA supports this nomination. The NHTOA believes that for private timberland owners and the forest products industry, the State Forester position is the most important position in state government.
"Patrick’s background and work experience make him uniquely qualified and a good fit for this important position," said NHTOA executive director Jasen Stock." He will bring to the job private sector experience from working with private timberland owners and forest products companies as well as experience working with land trusts and non-profits in the land conservation community.”
The NHTOA urges members to call their member of the Executive Council and encourage them to support Patrick Hackley's nomination, which will be voted on Aug. 26. This document lists current Council members and the towns in the districts they represent.
Current Council members include:
District 1 (Coos and Grafton counties)
District 2 (Dover west to Walpole, including Concord and Keene)
District 3 (Seacoast region, including Portsmouth and Exeter)
District 4 (Manchester region)
District 5 (Nashua west to Hillsborough)
U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen spent a warm afternoon on Thursday, July 9, in Berlin, N.H., touring the Burgess Bioenergy plant. Burgess is an important buyer of low-grade wood, which it uses to fuel its electricity-generating operation, and much of the discussion during the tour was about the threats New Hampshire's loggers and sawmills are under due to a multi-faceted collapse of the woodchip and wood pulp market. Sen. Shaheen has been instrumental in encouraging federal support for the forest-products industry, including low-grade markets.
"Today was an important opportunity to show Sen. Shaheen the direct impact on plants like Burgess, the landowners, loggers, and suppliers that support them, and the communities they operate in that a weak low-grade market has," said Jasen Stock, executive director of the New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association, who co-hosted the tour along with Burgess. "She has always shown interest in the industry, which is the third-largest in New Hampshire, and today she heard about the realities the industry is dealing with in the wake of the closures of several bioenergy plants and paper mills."
Dammon Frecker, operations manager at Burgess, told the Senator that his biggest concern, which he said is shared by other bioenergy plants as well as sawmills, is where the next load of wood is going to come from. "We buy woodchips from big companies but also from a lot of family loggers, and without good markets for low-grade wood those family operations have a very difficult time making a go of it," he said. "We need those loggers to stay in business in order for us to have the supply of woodchips we need."
As part of the tour, Burgess officials presented a check to town officials from the City of Berlin in the amount of $523,000 as part of a revenue sharing agreement. "This is the result of our partnership with this great community, one that we're proud to operate in," said Frecker, who then waved toward the distant peaks of the Presidential Range. "Plus, you can't ask for a more beautiful place for an energy plant."
Two new studies, one by Innovative Natural Resources Solutions LLC and the second by Plymouth State University, underscore the high value private timberland ownership brings to the New Hampshire economy. According to these studies, privately owned working lands annually contribute $1,337 per acre in recreation value and $384 per acre in timber value for a total value of $1,721 per acre and $4.53 billion in total estimated economic value on a statewide basis. Public (federal, state/local) lands annually contribute $515 per acre and $1,503 per acre, respectively for total value including recreation and timber value.
"These new studies of working lands highlight the tremendous importance of our privately owned timberlands to the state's economy," said Jasen Stock, executive director of the New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association, which commissioned the two studies. "Forests define New Hampshire not just aesthetically, but, as these studies prove, economically and for recreation as well. Good policies to protect private land ownership and maintain markets for the timber these lands grow are crucial to the overall health of our state."
Other facts from the studies:
- Total direct value of recreation on privately owned N.H. timberlands is $1.8 billion.
- Total direct timber value from privately owned N.H. timberlands is $0.8 billion.
- Total taxes paid by timberland owners was $263 million in 2017.
The 109th Annual Meeting of the New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association will be held "virtually" this year in concordance with guidelines from local and federal health authorities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Materials for the Annual Meeting, including the 2019 Annual Report, this year's proposed budget, this year's slate of officers and directors, and instructions for participating in the Meeting, were mailed to all NHTOA members on June 1. These materials are also available at the links below: