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But I Had a Contract…

A number of years ago a very unhappy elderly lady approached us concerning a logging operation that had recently occurred on her property. She described her land as a “disaster area” after logging took place – too many trees were cut, slash piles were only partly burned, and many of the remaining trees were damaged.

“Did you have a contract?” was my first question. “Yes,” she replied, “it came from the logger.”

When the brief written “contract” was reviewed there was vague language about the logger applying “good forestry practices” when selecting trees to cut and that the slash clean-up would “meet state requirements.” Well, there’s lots and lots of wiggle room in those two statements, and, unfortunately for that sweet lady, it appeared the logger used the flexibility to his advantage.

The contract was very cavalier in many other aspects, including insurance, timing, pricing, road maintenance, etc., but the lesson here is that it is critical to have a thorough, detailed document that addresses all aspects of a harvest operation.


-Mike Wolcott, ACF, Certified Forester

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