Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Horselogging Workshop Attracts Great Response

On Saturday, May 23, The Ohio Forestry Cooperative (OFC) and Southeast Ohio Woodland Interest Group (SEOWIG) held a very successful Horselogging Workshop in conjunction with Rural Action near Fox Lake in Athens County. Horselogging is a viable “green” alternative to mechanical skidding and motorized logging operations that causes much less damage to the environment, and is more sustainable, in the long-term.

The day began with a beautiful walk through a three-acre pine stand on the property of OFC member Charles Atkins. During the walk, horselogger Rich Douglas talked about the process of using horses in logging, as well as giving field demonstrations with the equipment that he uses when working with the horses. Forester Pete Woyar also took this time to discuss the need for careful planning when it came to removing trees in order to ensure that stands flourish for many years to come, as well as the importance of avoiding excessive cutting. The Atkins stand was an excellent example of an operation which is well-suited for horselogging, due to the modest size of the parcel and because it is a timber stand improvement project where only a few trees are removed at one time.

The group then went on to Sugar Bush Farm, the home of Don and Mary Ann Flournoy, both long-time members of Rural Action and OFC. Mary Anne is also a former Rural Action Board Chair. The Flournoys held lunch in one of their barns, that was constructed in part from wood products produced by a horselogging operation on their property in 2005. They used the pine that they cut to produce a beautiful wide plank pine floor in the second floor of their barn.

After lunch, Don Flournoy took the group on a wagon tour of the farm where he and retired service forester Dave Schatz talked about the various management practices on Sugar Bush Farm, as well as some of the unique qualities of the Flournoy’s property.

The workshop was a great success, with over 40 people in attendance. VISTA Volunteer Susi Rankis said that it was encouraging to see so many people interested in learning about alternative forest management strategies, “It was really great to see so many familiar and new faces at this event. Horselogging appeals to many landowners because when it’s done right impact on the land can be minimal. Also, many landowners are often interested in doing small jobs on their property to keep up with their management practices so horselogging makes sense because you can maneuver horses into areas you may not have otherwise been able to get to with larger equipment – therefore selective thinning can be done how the landowner wants it done.”

Rural Action helped to plan parts of the workshop, helped with logistics, and also spread the word about the event. We want to take this opportunity to thank both OFC and SEOWIG for all of their hard work that went into making this event such a great success. Also, thanks to the many Rural Action members who came out to support the workshop!

For more information about horselogging, or the Ohio Forestry Cooperative, contact them by email ( or call their offices (740.664.2475). You can also contact Susi Rankis ( or call the Rural Action offices (740.767.4938).

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