Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: February 26, 2019

Today’s Takeaway

US residential construction declines in December but permits are up a bit

The Tree Frog Forestry News
February 26, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

After a delay due to the government shutdown, the US Commerce Department construction data shows a double-digit percent drop from November’s pace, but building permits are up a bit. In other Business news: New Brunswick Premier reports little US interest in reopening the softwood lumber talks; Canfor and Pinnacle report banner 2018s; and the UK faces a wood pallet/phytosanitary crisis without a Brexit deal. 

In Forestry/Climate news: Canada is criticized for using its forests to help meet its GHG targets; Caribou protection plans worry BC interior lumber producers; research efforts help predict future wildfire changes in Oregon, and New Mexico, while California’s environmental policy is causing their forests to become net CO2 emitters.

Finally, stories on wood and fire safety that could prompt building code changes in Halifax and the UK

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Residential construction declines in December

Hardware + Building Supply Dealer
February 26, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

After a long delay caused by the government shutdown, the Commerce Department Tuesday morning released residential construction statistics for December. The numbers show a double-digit percent drop from November’s pace. Housing starts for December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,078,000, that’s down 11.2% compared to the downwardly revised November rate of 1,214,000. Total starts are at their lowest rate since Septebmer of 2016, when the figure was 1,064,000. Single‐family housing starts were also down, but not as dramatically. These came in at a rate of 758,000, a 6.7% decline from the revised November figure of 812,000. On a positive note, building permits came in at a rate of 1,326,000, up 0.3% from November. For the full year, an estimated 1,246,600 housing units were started. That’s up 3.6% from 2017.

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RISI Crow’s Market Recap

Hardware + Building Supply Dealer
February 26, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

SPF trading remained subdued, prompting discounts to appear. Several mills in the West held onto quotes, boasting lead times extending into the week of March 11. Futures continued to trend downward throughout the week until a rally appeared Thursday. Southern Pine producers sold less than their output, but solid order files prompted them to nudge prices higher where possible. Buyers backed off from what traders described as “a good run” over the last month. Weather conditions in the form of rain and snow limited takeaways from yards. Coastal species pricing flattened out, due to a decline in sales activity. Several producers reported, “Grinding it out,” while trying to find buyers with needs. Decent order files helped producers limit discounts and outbound calls but negotiated prices did appear. Inland lumber markets congealed into “a quiet standoff.” 

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Weak fourth quarter tempers banner year for Canfor

By Mark Nielsen
Prince George Citizen
February 25, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Canfor Corp. generated “strong financial results” in 2018 as it earned $608.6 million in operating income – the highest the sawmill and pulp mill operator has seen in over 10 years – the company said in a year-end report, issued last week. “Reported annual results include record-high pulp and paper segment earnings and solid lumber segment operating income,” the company said.  “The latter was achieved despite major challenges presented by significant log supply constraints and log cost increases in British Columbia, severe transportation issues in the first half of the year, extreme weather across North America and one of the worst forest fire seasons in B.C., as well as significant market volatility during the year.” However, it reported an operating loss of $79.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2018, “with the decline in earnings reflecting lower operating income for both the lumber and pulp and paper segments.”

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Building safety: Pinnacle implements best practices at Smithers plant

By Ellen Cools
Canadian Biomass
February 25, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The past year has seen many changes for Pinnacle Renewable Energy: in February 2018, the company completed an initial public offering; in March, it commissioned its Entwistle, Alta. facility; and in September, it acquired a 70 per cent interest in a pellet plant in Alabama. But the company did not stop there. In November 2018, Pinnacle began production at its newest pellet plant in Smithers, B.C. …why did Pinnacle decide to build a new one in Smithers? According to Leroy Reitsma, Pinnacle’s president and chief operating officer, the company saw an opportunity to partner with West Fraser and create a mutually beneficial solution. West Fraser’s Smithers sawmill is located in a region that features a mix of spruce, pine, balsam and some incidental hemlock and cedar. …West Fraser owns 30 per cent and Pinnacle the remaining 70 per cent.

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Pinnacle reports record pellet sales for 2018

By Erin Voegele
Biomass Magazine
February 25, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc. has released fourth quarter 2018 financial results, reporting record pellet sales, new long-term pellet contracts, and discussing future expansion plans. The company also discussed a recent fire at its Entwistle, Alberta, facility.  Pinnacle sold a record volume of 1.6 million metric tons of industrial wood pellets in 2018. The company also secured six new long-term contracts with customers in Japan totaling $1.9 billion last year, including an additional contract during the fourth quarter. The company also said it secured two long-term contracts with CGN Daesan Power Co. Ltd. in South Korea last year totaling $1 billion, including an additional contract in the fourth quarter.

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Higgs’s softwood lumber pitch falls on indifferent ears in U.S.

By Jordan Gill
CBC News
February 25, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Blaine Higgs

Softwood lumber was on Premier Blaine Higgs’s mind when he travelled to Washington for the National Governors Association meeting… but he found others had little interest in talking about the issue. “Softwood lumber wasn’t something that was being discussed a lot,” Higgs told reporters …on Monday after three days in the U.S. capital.  …Before Higgs left for the meeting, he said he would be willing to give way on the province’s forestry policy to help ease some of the punishing tariffs on softwood lumber coming from New Brunswick. …While softwood lumber tariffs were not high on the radar of most people at the Washington meeting, the New England governors were more receptive to the province’s plight, Higgs said. …Higgs said he felt the issue has now been raised but he wished Canadians at the Washington meetings had come up with a more national focus for the issue.

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Unpalatable news? UK faces pallet crisis if there is no-deal Brexit

By Rupert Neate
The Guardian
February 26, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

The government is holding emergency talks with distributors after realising that the UK has a dire shortage of the “right sort” of pallets to import and export goods in the event of a no-deal Brexit. …If the UK leaves the EU without a deal the overwhelming majority of wooden pallets, used to transport a vast range of consumer goods from breakfast cereal to pet food, beer and chocolate, will not meet strict EU rules designed to stop the spread of bark beetles and other pests. …The UK government has told distributors that all timber packaging, including pallets, destined for the EU countries after a no-deal Brexit must be heat-treated or fumigated to comply with International Standards For Phytosanitary Measures 15 (ISPM 15). At present pallets moving between EU member states, including the UK, are exempt from the standard. 

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A further £35 million investment in the UK from Norbord

The Builders Merchants Journal
February 25, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Wood panel manufacturer, Norbord, is ploughing £35 million into the second phase of development of its Inverness factory in Scotland – taking overall investment in the past two years to £145 million. Almost one year on from a £110 million expansion programme to significantly increase capacity, the company will now invest a further £35 million in a second wood room, heat plant and a dryer at the Morayhill mill. The development, due to be completed by 2021, will enable the mill to meet increased consumer demand for oriented strand board across the UK and Europe. …The level of investment… puts Norbord in an even better position to efficiently serve our customers’ growing needs across the UK and in continental Europe.”

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

SFU and Swiss researchers build an eco-friendly and 3D-printable IoT sensor

By Henry Tran
The Peak, SFU’s Independent Student Newspaper
February 25, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, International

Woo Soo Kim

In February 2019, SFU researchers collaborated with scientists from the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science to 3D print wireless Internet-of-Things (IoT) sensors. The new prototype, named “3D sustainable sensors,” is built from wood-derived cellulose materials, instead of the petroleum-based plastics that are common in most electrical devices. IoT systems utilize web-powered technologies… according to an article written by Design and Development Today. Dr. Woo Soo Kim, a mechatronic systems engineering professor at SFU… along with his Swiss collaborators, were able to transform the numerous sensors that IoT systems rely on to receive digital data and to “connect machines and equipment to the internet,” into biodegradable products. “Building those systems with naturally derived materials [. . .] could allow manufacturers to dispose of old sensors without contaminating the environment”.

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6 Amazing Ideas That Are Part Of The Smart City Plan From Sidewalk Labs

By Steve Hanley
CleanTechnica
February 25, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

…Sidewalk Labs is structured to rethink how the cities of the future will look, feel, and operate. …Details have been sketchy until now. But recently Sidewalk Labs has taken the wraps off its proposals, which were developed in association with two architectural firms — Snøhetta and Heatherwick Studio. …The first surprise Sidewalk Labs has in store is that the new buildings it proposes for the Quayside development will be constructed not from concrete and steel but from wood — cross laminated timber, to be precise. CLT is gaining favor as a carbon neutral construction especially in British Columbia where it has been promoted by local architect Michael Green. …Emissions from concrete are far higher than most people realize, and contribute significantly to global warming. Wooden buildings avoid those carbon emissions and can be recycled into their component parts if necessary without adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. 

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Fire deaths could prompt new safety measures, upgraded building code: experts

By Brett Bundale
The Canadian Press in the National Post
February 25, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

HALIFAX — Experts say the deaths of the seven Barho children in a ferocious Halifax house fire last week could lead to new fire safety measures and changes to the country’s building code. “I think we’re going to learn from this tragedy and you may actually end up seeing some changes coming in the codes as a result of this,” Phil Rizcallah, director for construction research and development with the National Research Council of Canada, said. …Mike Holmes, one of Canada’s leading contractors and a well-known television host, said Monday new homes should be built with fire-resistant products to slow down the spread of a fire. …“We can build with wood, we just need to treat it,” he said. …Holmes said without the use of more fire-resistant materials and products, sprinkler systems may be an option for some homeowners.

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AWC Releases 2018 manual for engineered wood construction

The American Wood Council
Civil + Structural Engineer
February 25, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

Leesburg, Va. — The American Wood Council released the 2018 Manual for Engineered Wood Construction, which contains design information for structural lumber, glued laminated timber, structural-use panels, cross-laminated timber, poles and piles, I-joists, structural composite lumber, and connections. …“With updates to provisions for CLT in the 2018 NDS and 2018 International Building Code, this Manual provides another tool designers and code officials have at their disposal to assist with wood design and construction,” said AWC Vice President of Technology Transfer John “Buddy” Showalter. The Manual provides design information for structural applications of many wood-based products and their connections in accordance with requirements of the standards referenced.

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Helena builders have started using reinforced timber as a replacement for steel

By Tyler Manning
The Helena Independent Record
February 24, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

What type of building material snaps together like Legos, strongly resists fire and seismic activity, is environmentally friendly and has made its way to Helena? Cross-laminated timber. …CLT has gained significant traction in the construction world over the past few years. And its viability is demonstrated in two Helena construction projects. Both the Helena Regional Airport and Bjerke Architects have used the product in recent construction projects, which has caused some excitement among construction and architectural firms.  …The material is replacing steel in some projects but also is regularly reinforced by steel. One might expect CLT to be costly, but according to Kory Kennaugh, architect at CWG Architects, it’s actually less expensive than the original steel-based design at the airport.

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Let’s make timber safer

By Dr Barbara Lane, Applied Innovation and Technology Group
Building
February 25, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Barbara Lane

Since publication of the paper I co-authored with Susan Deeny on fire safety design in modern timber buildings, CLT suppliers and designers from the UK and Europe have engaged with us, as well as the Structural Timber Association. We see a desire within this industry to meet the fire safety challenges of timber – challenges that are not unique to this material, however. We want to be clear that we support a framework which produces robust methods for engineered timber in low-, medium- and high-rise buildings. Our paper has been used by industry body the Concrete Centre to imply that its content suggests the need for limitations in the use of timber. This is wrong. We need all construction industry stakeholders to be more usefully focused on supporting open and honest investigations into advancing fire safety design and construction, in all material types – something that recent events show has been far too long in the waiting. 

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Forestry

B.C. forestry museum reeling after devastating December windstorm

By Brendan Strain
CTV News
February 25, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

When a devastating windstorm hit the Cowichan Valley just before Christmas, the BC Forest Discovery Centre did not go unscathed, suffering major damage. Three buildings were destroyed and a platform next to one of the train stops was crushed under one of the 70 trees that were blown over. BC Hydro has since deemed it the most damaging windstorm in its history. “We’re a forestry museum so when you lose that many trees, a lot of our volunteers had tears in their eyes,” said Chris Gale, centre manager. Not only was the centre hit by the physical damage of the storm, it was also hit with financial damage. …It’s estimated that the storm caused about $100,000 in damage, so the centre has started a Canada Helps fundraising effort.

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Tree in local cut block thought to be 1,036 years old

By Sharon Vanhouwe
My Coast Now
February 25, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Dakota Bowl Bear Sanctuary cut block contains stands of ancient trees including one that is estimated to be 1,036 years old. That’s according to Environmental groups Elphinstone Logging Focus and Sierra Club BC who are calling on the B.C. government to direct its logging agency, B.C. Timber Sales, to cancel the proposed cut block located about 10 kilometres from Roberts Creek on Mount Elphinstone. BC Timber Sales planned the block before it developed rules to set aside legacy and monumental trees. …Sierra Club’s Mark Worthing said targeting rare, endangered forests like this is akin to the trophy hunting of rare and endangered animal species. BC Timber Sales says the cutblock’s legacy trees, those that are exceptionally large and old already have protected status already.

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Caribou protection plan worries lumber producers

By Jessica Wallace
Kamloops This Week
February 25, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Interior Lumber Manufacturers’ Association says plans to protect caribou in B.C. will have an economic impact. ILMA president Dan Battistella told the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board that land is decreasingly available for logging, mining and back-country recreation, due in part to legislation that protects old-growth forests and parkland. Additionally, the province is working on a program to protect caribou habitat in B.C., which he said will further diminish land availability. …The province is working with the federal government on a plan to protect caribou habitat in B.C., in order to recover and conserve the animals following significant population decline (from 40,000 to 19,000) since the early 1900s. …B.C. director of caribou recovery Darcy Peel said that while ILMA’s concerns are valid, it is too early to determine impact because the province is still developing an agreement with the federal government.

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Career fair in Kamloops focuses on Indigenous forestry careers

Kamloops This Week
February 25, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The BC First Nations Forestry Council is hosting a career fair in Kamloops this week. The event will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 27, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Coast Kamloops Hotel and Conference Centre.  While the career fair is open to all, the focus is on Indigenous forestry careers. The goal of the event is to increase Indigenous awareness of forest sector opportunities and increase Indigenous participation as part of the BC First Nations Forestry Council’s workforce strategy. The strategy has been developed as a long-term initiative to increase the participation and success of Indigenous peoples in the province’s forest sector training, careers, employment and self-employment as forestry employees, managers and executive staff, forestry contractors and self-employed entrepreneurs. …“The forest industry is in need of skilled labour,” said says Charlene Higgins, the BC First Nations Forestry Council’s chief executive officer.

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Are stand replacement fires “bad”?

By Bill Gabbert
Wildfire Today
February 25, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

…the U.S. Forest Service, advocates active management of forests as one of the methods of preventing catastrophic wildfires. …Not all stand replacement fires, in which most or all overstory trees are killed, are catastrophic, unnatural, or bad. Fires in lodgepole pine, for example, are either creeping and slow-moving or rapidly spreading, intense, stand replacing crown fires occurring at 50 to 300-year intervals. In addition to prescribed fire, thinning, and fuel management, “active forest management” in recent years has been a dog whistle for increasing logging, used by lobbyists and others that make their living from the timber industry. The president used the term along with “health treatments” in a Presidential Order … in which he directed a 37 percent increase in timber harvesting. The moral of this story is, active forest management in most landscapes has many benefits, but beware of how it is defined.

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Wildfires Caused By Bad Environmental Policy Are Causing California Forests To Be Net CO2 Emitters

By Chuck Devore, Texas Public Policy Foundation
Forbes
February 25, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Chuck DeVore

In the past two years, wildfires scorched 2.9 million acres in California, including five of the state’s 20 deadliest fires killing 131 people. Former California Gov. Jerry Brown grimly warned that because of man-made climate change, these destructive wildfires are the “new abnormal” that threaten “our whole way of life.” Newly elected Gov. Gavin Newsom’s rhetoric has been more balanced. As with Brown before him, Newsom blames climate change for the fires, saying during the campaign last September that, “The science is clear — increased fire threat due to climate change is becoming a fact of life in our state. Drier, longer summers combined with unpredictable wet winters have created dangerous fire conditions.” …This is California’s big secret: it’s not climate change that’s burning up the forests, killing people, and destroying hundreds of homes; it’s decades of environmental mismanagement that has created a tinderbox of unharvested timber, dead trees, and thick underbrush.

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Oregon State University ramping up research to better predict wildfire behavior

By Oregon State University
EurekAlert
February 25, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

CORVALLIS, Ore. – On the heels of Oregon’s most expensive wildfire season ever in 2018, researchers at Oregon State University are ramping up efforts to better predict how the blazes behave, including how they generate fire-spreading embers. A team led by David Blunck of OSU’s College of Engineering has been chosen by the U.S. Department of Defense to spearhead a new $2.1 million effort to study the burning of live fuels. OSU will partner with the U.S. Forest Service on a four-year grant awarded through the DOD’s Strategic Environmental Research Development Program. …The work will be built around the theory that there are likely just a handful of factors – such as pyrolysis, the decomposition that results from high temperatures, and the products of that decomposition – that cause differences in burning behavior when live fuels burn.

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Scientists simulate forest and fire dynamics to understand area burn of future wildfires

By Steve Carr
The University of New Mexico
February 26, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Climate change and wildfire – It’s a combustible mix with costly devastation and deadly consequences. With a goal of understanding the link between the two variables, researchers over the years have studied the effects of climate and wildfire interactions in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. …Matthew Hurteau at The University of New Mexico… hypothesized that prior wildfires and their influence on vegetation, coupled with a changing climate and its influence on vegetation recovery after a wildfire, would likely restrict the size of wildfires in the future. The research titled “Vegetation-fire feedback reduces projected area burned under climate change,” was published today in Scientific Reports. …“This study revealed that wildfire activity is impacted not only by climate, but also by vegetation and prior fires,” said Wiedinmyer. “When you include all of these components — it can change our predictions of the air pollutants from wildfires.

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Scott Calls on Feds to Help Panhandle Timber Industry

My Panhandle.com
February 25, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Rick Scott

Washington, D.C. – Senator Rick Scott is calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to do more to help the timber industry after Hurricane Michael.  “The storm damaged 2.8 million acres with approximately 72 million tons of timber, leaving more than 16,000 forest landowners with few options for recovery,” Scott wrote in a letter to Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue. “It could take more than a decade for Florida’s timber industry to recover from the storm’s devastation, and our Panhandle families need help.” Scott adds that… the department should send  “an incident management team to deploy to the USDA Farm Service Agency field office in Marianna to help process the current applications for affected timber landowners. 

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

How Canada is ‘faking it’ on climate change

By Lorrie Goldstein
Toronto Sun
February 25, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has come up with a new way to meet Canada’s greenhouse gas emission targets under the Paris climate accord. Except it doesn’t reduce emissions. It’s an accounting trick. …What the Trudeau government is now starting to do is to include annual emission reductions from the amount of carbon dioxide stored in Canada’s forests, in calculating the country’s total annual emissions, which it hasn’t done before. The reason it hasn’t … is that Canada’s forests have been a net contributor to annual CO2 emissions for almost 20 years. That’s due to natural occurrences which kill trees such as forest fires caused by lightning strikes and insect damage, because all living things emit carbon dioxide when they die. As the CBC’s Robert Fletcher recently reported, that increased Canada’s annual emissions by 78 megatonnes  (one megatonne, or Mt, equals one million tonnes) in 2016 alone, the last year for which figures are available.

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Predicting how forests in the western US will respond to changing climate

By Carnegie Institution for Science
Science Daily
February 25, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

On the mountain slopes of the western United States, climate can play a major role in determining which tree communities will thrive in the harshest conditions, according to new work from Carnegie’s Leander Anderegg and University of Washington’s Janneke Hille Ris Lambers. Their findings, published in Ecology Letters, are an important step in understanding how forest growth will respond to a climate altered by human activity. As researchers try to anticipate how climate change will affect forest ecosystems, it is crucial to understand the factors that influence how forest habitats change over time — including both environmental conditions and competition for resources. One of the oldest ecological principles asserts that competition between trees will constrain growth under mild conditions and climate will constrain growth under harsh conditions.

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Health & Safety

Logging truck loses its load at busy Port Alberni intersection

The Victoria News
February 25, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

A 91-year-old Port Alberni man escaped serious injury after a logging truck taking a right turn onto Stamp Avenue from Roger Street toppled over and spilled its load in Port Alberni. The truck was on its side and logs had spilled across all four lanes of traffic in front of the Best Western Barclay Hotel, snarling traffic at one of Port Alberni’s busiest intersections. The driver of the logging truck, a 25-year-old man from Qualicum Beach, was also uninjured in the incident. He has been charged with driving without due care and attention under the Motor Vehicle Act, Port Alberni RCMP Cpl. Amelia Hayden said.

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Loggers raise funds for new memorial, museum at Camp 18

By Edward Stratton
Seaside Signal
February 26, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States, US West

ELSIE — A decade ago, a volunteer group of foresters opened a memorial in a small cabin-style building along U.S. Highway 26…for those who died while logging. In a testament to one of the deadliest and most storied local professions, the Camp 18 Loggers Memorial quickly filled up with shrines and artifacts from the woods. Volunteers are now raising between $3 million and $4 million for a new, 7,000-square-foot museum to continue honoring the past while providing a nod to the future. The Camp 18 Loggers Museum was founded in the 1970s by Maurie Clark and Gordon Smith, former owners of Camp 18 Restaurant. …The group has looked at incorporating green building concepts and newer construction materials such as cross-laminated timber, used in multistory buildings elsewhere. But the newer material and sustainability certification might be overkill for the museum’s size and backing, Doss said.

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