HPA Director, Milt Baston named “Logger of the Year”

Milt Baston, Andy Ward, and Raynald Blair

Three Maine logging professionals were honored during the 21st annual Certified Logging Professional program’s banquet on Dec. 2 in Brewer. Milton Baston of Strong (left) Andy Ward of Chester and Raynold Blair of Eagle Lake were honored by their peers for their professionalism and individual levels of excellence as loggers, contractors, and supervisors.

BREWER — A contractor from Strong was named Conventional Logger of the Year at the 21st annual Certified Logging Professional awards night Thursday.

Milt Baston was presented with the award along with a $1,000 check.

“I first met Milt when he and I were both starting out when he was logging with horses,” said Peter Tracy, a licensed forester from Farmington, who nominated Baston.

Tracy has been a licensed consulting forester since 1983 and assists nonindustrial private woodland owners in managing lots.

Baston was one of three to receive an award. Chopper One owner Raynold Blair of Eagle Lake received the supervisor/contractor award and Andy Ward of Chester, an employee of Treeline, received the mechanical contractor award.

Sponsored by the Maine Timber Research and Environmental Education Foundation, Certified Logging Professional works to reduce logging-related accidents and the corresponding increase in workers compensation costs. Whether loggers are mechanical harvesters, who operate large equipment, or self-employed contractors, who use only a chainsaw and work on smaller jobs, insurance costs have an impact on them.

The program trains loggers, property owners, environmental experts, and safety management specialists to promote workplace safety, according to CLP Board President Justin Merrill.

“Since 1991, 5,800 people have gone through the CLP training program,” he said. “Now we are being asked to train Canadian loggers because we have a program that works.”

Franklin is the most heavily forested county in Maine. And Maine is the most heavily forested state with 89 percent of it covered by trees.

Valerie Tucker, Special to the Sun Journal, story, and picture

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