February 25, 2013

Central Maine logger works to leave the land better off

Scott Kinney of Belgrade and his brother employ logging methods that are environmentally friendly.


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Scott Kinney cuts limbs from trees with a harvester in a select-cut operation in Sidney.

Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

For this reason, Kinney won't clearcut land unless it's to make room for a commercial development. He said that irresponsible land management can hurt a logging company's reputation.

"I have to think about what work I want in my portfolio," he said.

Kinney harvests from woodlots and commercial building sites within a 30-mile radius of his hometown of Belgrade. He sells logs, firewood, pulpwood and chips to customers including Verso Paper in Jay, Hammond Lumber Company in Belgrade, Sappi Fine Paper in Skowhegan, Tukey Brothers in North Belgrade, and area schools that use the woodchips to power biomass heating systems.

In a conventional operation, dragging the cut trees along the ground can damage the earth and other trees in the area, resulting in a larger environmental footprint and also dirtying the wood.

The demand for clean woodchips that result from cut-to-length forestry seems to be growing -- Colby College opened its biomass plant in January 2012. School districts based in Skowhegan and Oakland have also recently turned to biomass, partially because federal stimulus money to promote green energy eased the cost of the transition.

While the work is safer and more environmentally friendly, there are still surprises, he said.

"Sometimes we find axes grown into the trees, from the days of axes and bucksaws," he said. "And you wouldn't believe how many bullets are in the trees."

Kinney said he hopes to continue logging into his 60s.

"There's a lot of product out here and a lot of land to be managed," he said. "We want to leave the earth better than when we found it."

Matt Hongoltz-Hetling can be contacted at 861-9287 or at:



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