Remembering Bob Falkner
December 16, 1955- September 12, 2022
Tribute prepared by Washington Tree Farm Program, which has set up an Educational Fund in Bob's name.
"We will be known forever by the tracks we leave..." This ancient Plains Indian Proverb is so appropriate for remembering the deep "tracks" Bob leaves within our Washington Tree Farm community.
Bob grew up in Greenacres, Washington, near Spokane, never having been involved in tree farming. That all changed in 1978 when he married Lynette Habersetzer! She had grown up on a family tree farm homesteaded by her great-grandparents in 1888--that's one year before Washington became a state. In Bob's words: "After meeting and marrying Nettie, I began to understand what it meant to continue a legacy. She taught me to truly love the land.” Bob took the importance of that legacy to heart as it truly defined many aspects of his life and how he and Lynette chose to raise their four children: Kate, Tim, Mary Beth and Elly.
Bob’s love of the land took on a more concrete role after Lynette's father, Victor, passed away in 1982. At that time, management of the tree farm was passed on to her mother, Ruth, who in turn encouraged Bob to learn about tree farming. Ruth quickly took Bob underwing, sharing her detailed knowledge ranging from what piece of land was where to the vital importance of political advocacy and everything in between. She passed on not only her knowledge, but also her passion to Bob, who met the tree farming challenge head on. He had graduated from the University of Washington School of Business and he quickly supplemented his business knowledge with forestry education by enrolling in the Small Woodland Owners classes at Centralia Community College where he met other folks who owned and managed timberland. They provided him with first-hand experiences and a great deal of wisdom.
In his early stages of learning, Bob and Lynette hosted a twilight tour where Bob noted that he didn't know much about tree farming. While standing in the woods on Picnic Hill, experienced voices from fellow tree farmers spoke up saying, "We'll teach you, Bob!" And the entire forestry community did just that. Their camaraderie helped encourage Bob to sign up for the Washington Agriculture and Forestry Leadership Program where he graduated with Class lX in 1988. He credited those two years in the program with increasing his awareness of natural resources, exposing him to different cultures, economics, political systems, and international trade. Quickly deciding he wanted to take on a leadership role in the tree farming community, Bob joined the Lewis County Farm Forestry chapter where he served on the Board of Directors from 1987- 1991.
Over the years, Bob was instrumental in helping reactivate the Pacific County Farm Forestry Association and served as its president from 1989-1995. He also served as the Washington State Farm Forestry Treasurer from 1990-2000 and was on the Steering Committee for the Northwest Woodlands Owners Council. During this time, he also spearheaded efforts to establish the Life Member program through WFFA, providing a title that so many of us wear with pride. He and Lynette were members of the Washington Contract Loggers Association and the Washington Forest Protection Association for many years. Their efforts to manage Custer Creek Tree Farm and educate the community about land stewardship were recognized on a county, state, regional, and, ultimately, national level when they were named the 2003 National Outstanding Tree Farmers by the American Tree Farm System. Following this distinction, they served on the National Operating Committee for the ATFS, sub-committees for Outreach and Education, and the National Public Affairs Committee from 2003 -2006.
Educating the community about tree farming through Elderhostel visits, twilight tours, Family Forest Field Days, and Project Learning Tree tours were Bob's favorite activity. He loved opening the tree farm for any type of educational program--in fact this last August 4th, the Pacific Education Institute held a workshop on Custer Creek Tree Farm, welcoming local teachers to learn about options for teaching about forestry and nature in their classrooms. Even with his failing health, Bob was there to visit with folks and so happy to have them learn about this tree farm he had come to love so dearly. One last 'set of tracks' left behind for future generations...
Bob is survived by his wife, Lynette, their children: Kate, Tim, Mary Beth (Haselfeld) and Elly; his son-in-law, Greg Haselfeld; and his grandson, Bennett Haselfeld. His family is so grateful for the outpouring of support they have received from the tree farming community during their time of grief. Bob truly loved being a part of this community and it is a role the next generations at Custer Creek Tree Farm look forward to continuing.
To honor Bob's memory, the Washington Tree Farm Program is accepting donations in his name to help fund future educational programs - something he was so passionate about. You can contribute to the "Bob Falkner Forestry Education Fund" at: https://www.watreefarm.org/products/.
President: Nick Somero
Vice President: Jim Rose
Sec/Treasurer: Anne McNelly
Board Member: Steve Huber
Board Member: Jim Hillery
Board Member: Rex Hutchins
Board Member: Robert Falkner
Board Member: Elly Falkner
Board Member: Matt Cron
Membership, Historian: Victor Niemcziek
In Memoriam: George McNelly
In memory of George McNelly, highly respected tree farmer, long time Pacific County Chapter board member, long time Lewis County Chapter member, historian of logging and lumbering industries, and most of all a cherished leader, mentor, and friend.
This is being written by Greg Pattillo as the McNelly Tree Farm in Pacific County and the Pattillo Tree Farm were neighbors. George passed away on February 20, 2021 from complications of a stroke he suffered a few days earlier. George was very active and gave a lot of time and effort to the Pacific County Farm Forestry Association, where he got to know every Tree Farmer in the county on a personal basis. My Wife and I were officers in the Chapter for a number of years, and anytime we would call on him for help with a meeting, or a picnic, or a fair booth he was always ready to help. With his bright personality he loved talking to other tree farmers, about any subject, but especially logging and logging equipment and logging history. He attended all Pacific Chapter meetings, but also many Lewis Chapter meetings with his tree farmer friends Nick Somero and Victor Neimcziek. George was my favorite banker starting about 30 years ago and it was there he took a great interest in logging equipment and talking with the local loggers. He would say to me let's go to the equipment show at the Oregon Logging Conference and "smell the new paint". George and I swapped some older machines like skidders between ourselves, but there wasn't much new paint on them. He and I also loaned hundreds of books to each other; usually about logging or timber company history, and some western novels. George did a lot of reading! He always brightened my day with his many visits to my place.
George was born in Winlock in Lewis County in January of 1943. His father was a well known "gyppo" logger or small contract logger doing small logging jobs around the area, and had a contract for a long time with Port Blakely Mill Company where he did some of their first commercial thinnings. I find it really fascinating that George knew some of the original founding members of Washington Farm Forestry Association personally as a young guy around Winlock. Most notably that would be George England of Winlock. George also had a beautifully managed 20 acre timberland near Winlock for many years which he only recently sold in the Fall of 2020. The family still has the Pacific County property.
I am glad to have had a close association with George McNelly along with all the other tree farmers, it has made life much more interesting.
For the latest information from Chapter President Nick Somero, see the Fall Newsletter.
Most members of the Pacific County Farm Forestry Chapter are represented in the Washington Legislature by Senator Jeff Wilson and Reps. Joel McEntire and Jim Walsh. If you are interested in following what is going on during this year's virtual legislative session, you may be interested in getting on their email newsletters so that you will receive future messages such as this one from Rep. Walsh, which contains many valuable links to watching and participating in the virtual legislative session.
University of Washington Maple Syrup Study
It turns out a fair number of small landowners are tapping their maples for fun, but not too many have looked at it for profit. The University of Washington hopes to change that. They have established a research project aimed at identifying the opportunities and obstacles to developing a maple syrup industry in the Pacific Northwest. To that end they have partnered with east coast maple sugar production experts and engaged WFFA to identify research sites and willing landowners to test various systems that could address the vagaries of our climate and species. Data generated by the study will be used to identify successful strategies for tapping maples in a temperate rainforest climate. If successful, it would be another way to generate income from your forests while bringing the sweetness of west coast big leaf maple syrup to the world. That would be a good thing as the taste is unique and frankly fabulous!
The 3 year project will collect data on the volume of sap and syrup that can be produced taking into account (1) variation in elevation, latitude, and climatic zones (2) collection methods using traditional bucket collection vs. high vacuum tubing systems, (3) size and health of bigleaf maple trees, and (4) timing of tapping and strategies for re-tapping trees throughout the season (December-March). These data will be used to characterize the costs and benefits involved in starting a maple sugaring enterprise in the PNW and to learn the successful strategies for tapping maples in a temperate rainforest climate.
Courtesy of Elaine Oneil.
Regional Partnership Program Brings Technical & Financial Assistance to
Small Forest Landowners in Southwest Washington
The Southwest Washington Small Forest Lands Conservation Partnership is a voluntary and incentive based program with the focus of providing technical & financial assistance to Small Forest Landowners in eight Southwest Washington counties― Pacific, Grays Harbor, Wahkiakum, Mason, Thurston, Lewis, Cowlitz and Clark. The Southwest Washington Small Forest Lands Conservation Partnership is part of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Regional Conservation Partnership Program or RCPP. RCPP utilizes NRCS funding within a geographic area/region and leverages contributions from partners to deliver the program. This is a joint effort by the Washington Dept. of Natural Resources, Washington State Conservation Commission & eight Conservation Districts, Washington State University Extension, and Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife.
The Southwest Washington Small Forest Lands Conservation Partnership provides funding for four Stewardship foresters to help landowners develop Forest Management Plans and financial assistance to assist in the implementation of Forest Management Plans. Financial assistance is available to implement a variety of stewardship practices to improve forest health, water quality, and wildlife habitat. Stewardship practices include but are not limited to density management, vegetation control, improving wildlife habitat and others intended to help landowners meet their stewardship goals/objectives and improve the health and productivity of the forest. Financial assistance is available through NRCS’s Environment Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). The Family Forest Fish Passage Program (FFFPP) through DNR is available to correct fish passage barriers. Forest Conservation Easements through the NRCS Healthy Forests Reserve Program (HFRP) are also available.
The following is a map detailing the project & work areas. Each work area has been assigned a Stewardship forester to assist landowners within the designated counties. For more information on this and other programs and opportunities contact the Pacific & Grays Harbor Conservation District:
Grays Harbor Conservation District
330 W Pioneer Ave
Montesano, WA 98563