"They are just as bad as everyone else!"

When I received Forest Stewardship Council Certification back in 1998, I was the first certified resource manager and our family farm and lumber business was the first small woodlot in the region to attain this new eco-label.

I worked to spread the word and encourage other landowners and the timber industry to join in this standard of management.

The big sawmill in our county is Reedsburg Hardwoods (formerly Meister Log and Lumber Co).  They are now owned by Midwest Lumber in Minneapolis.  The parent company had part of its operation FSC certified and I was encouraging the local sawmill to get FSC certified so area forest owners would have a market for their logs.  Another large sawmill in the area is Nelson Brothers – with mills in Muscoda and Prairie du Chien.  The head of the company is Steve Nelson, a graduate forester.  I called him up and invited him to meet with us to discuss FSC certification, adding that Reedsburg was considering it too.

The next morning, we met at a pile of logs along Hwy WC north of Spring Green.  The brothers got out of their truck and Steve yelled out as they walked in our direction, “How the Hell can ‘Reedsburg’ get certified – they are just as bad as everyone else!”

FSC never became established here – we quickly dropped as being too expensive, providing no real benefit, and not even meeting their own ideals.  The Menominee Tribal Enterprises in NE Wisconsin that had spearheaded the movement in advance of my efforts, also dropped it.   I agreed with the common understanding, ‘The more you learn about FSC, the less you like it.’  It is a great idea, but poorly carried out.

Forest Destruction goes on as before.