MDC names Birch Tree man as Logger of the Year

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) announced Scott 'Greg' Stark of Birch Tree and owner of Stark Logging as the 2014 State Logger of the Year. Stark also received the Ozark Region Logger of the Year Award.

Stark Logging consists of the owner, Greg Stark, and employee Ron Kile.

MDC Resource Forester Gary Gognat nominated Stark based on the quality of his timber harvest operations and best business practices. Stark began his relationship with the MDC as a chain saw contractor doing Timber Stand Improvement (TSI) projects.

"His special work ethic was apparent in his desire to do the best job he was capable of," said Gognat. "He was also interested in the harvest aspect and wanted to attend Professional Timber Harvester training. He started out small and upgraded his equipment as he went along. Not having to focus on production as much allowed Greg to concentrate on the quality side of doing a good job."

Stark's reputation is built on first class work, both in timber harvesting and other management activities, Gognat said. He worked on several TSI contracts, both on private and public land supervising a small crew. Through his understanding of crop tree selection and stocking rates, he was able to take the time and train his people to do the same quality job as himself. His ability to select and leave trees and determine spacing is equal to a trained forester, according to Gognat.

Gognat said Stark realizes the importance of minimizing residual damage and protecting water quality with his timber harvesting. He installs Best Management Practices (BMP's) as needed. His log landings are all cleared, seeded and mulched, and look like little food plots when he is done.

Gognat said Stark's abilities truly shine "in the logging woods." Stark is always open for communication, according to Gognat, which is complemented by his business sense and work ethic that set him apart from the average logger.

MDC Forest Products Program Supervisor Jason Jensen said the Missouri Logger of the Year award is the MDC's way of recognizing the great work of Missouri's best loggers.

"Forests require management just like a garden, farm or herd of cattle," Jensen said. "The key is to manage the forest in a way that ensures its future health and productivity and Stark Logging has demonstrated their ability to manage our forests while ensuring the health of future forests."

The State Logger of the Year award is chosen by a panel of professionals representing the MDC, the Missouri Consulting Foresters Association, the Forest and Woodland Association of Missouri, the Missouri Forest Resource Advisory Council, the Missouri Loggers Council, and Missouri Forest Products Association (MFPA). Criteria for selecting a winner includes good working relationships with landowners and foresters, minimal damage to remaining trees and resources, prevention of soil erosion, aesthetics of the site after harvesting was complete, safe work performance and use of equipment, utilization of harvested trees, the desire to address wildlife management concerns, and use of proper forest management techniques. Additionally, the logger must have completed the Professional Timber Harvester's Training Program sponsored by MFPA and MDC.

The award recipients received framed certificates from MDC and a STIHL chainsaw donated by Crader Distributing in Marble Hill, Mo.

"Stark Logging represents some of the same quality traits that STIHL was founded on," said Dusten Hanks, Territory Manager for Crader Distributing. "Crader Distributing and STIHL are proud to support Stark Logging as the 2014 State Logger of the Year."

Stark Logging received the award at the Missouri Forest Products Association summer meeting held in Branson.

For more information on forests in Missouri and forestry Best Management Practices, go online to