'It shouldn't be all or nothing'

  • Evelyn Thompson works in the head-rig, deciding how to cut each log

    Karen Nichols

Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story.

Evelyn Thompson is co-owner of RBM Lumberin Columbia Falls, Montana. In 1997, she was recognized as Montana's Businesswoman of the Year by the Small Business Administration.

Evelyn Thompson: "One of our biggest principles is to eliminate waste. We developed a lot of our products just because of the need to use something we weren't using. They may take extra work that doesn't always pay for itself, but it's necessary for us to do this to feel good about our business. And we've ended up adding some neat products appreciated by our customers. It's one big reason we have so many kinds of products.

"We prefer to salvage trees after they've been blown over in a storm or finally die from disease or insects. We also need to leave dead trees on the ground for wildlife habitat and soil productivity. It shouldn't be all or nothing. We can find a reasonable balance with salvage logging.

"What we sometimes have a problem with is when the state or some other landowner wants to cut healthy old-growth forests that still provide good habitat and healthy trees. Most of the old growth already has been cut, and it takes several hundred years to grow it back. As a society, we should be managing for more old growth, not the elimination of it."

Copyright © 2000 HCN and Steve Thompson

High Country News Classifieds