COLUMBIA FALLS, Mont. - It's Montana Forest Products Industry Week, and those involved with forest and logging jobs took time out of their day Saturday to praise workers for one of Montana's economy boosters.
"Logging and forest products industries have been a traditional industry," said DNRC's Bill Pursell. "You take resources from the land and create value and add jobs to the communities."
Doug Shanks and secondary manufacturers like Western Building Center serve witness to the theme for this year's celebration - Forest to Home.
"We have the opportunity to often times go out and see the outcome of all the work," said Shanks, "from the logging association all the way through the log truck drivers through the sawmills. And to see the final product is tremendously rewarding."
But it's not just construction - the forest and logging industry also helps out students. proving the industry comes full circle in assisting the state in many ways.
"We manage the state's school trust lands," explained Pursell, "and these lands were seeded to the state for the purpose of creating money to support our schools. So the timber industry is extremely important to our school kids from the sale of timber on state lands."
Shanks is hopeful that the economy is slowly turning around so logging, forest, and lumber workers can get back on their feet.
"We would be dead in the water without wood and I believe being able to weather this housing shortfall for the last four years we're going to see that industry come back," said Shanks. "They're going to come back and we're going to see two-million plus home starts a year again very soon."