Shasta College just became California’s first educational institution to be issued a Commercial Timber Operators License. The college also made the first delivery of student-harvested logs to the Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) mill in Anderson, California. Becoming a Licensed Timber Operator (LTO) allows Shasta College to collect proceeds from timber that students harvest as part of the college’s logging training program. The college will then invest most of those proceeds back into the college’s Heavy Equipment Logging Operations (HELO) certificate program to help offset operational costs such as fuel, consumables, maintenance, and repairs.

The first contracted logs from the student training ground were delivered to the SPI Anderson sawmill on Monday, July 20, 2020. The load of 34 Douglas fir logs with an average length of 36-feet totaling 3,930 board feet demonstrates the culmination of the successful partnership built among key stakeholders.

Watching his student’s first logs roll into the SPI Anderson mill, Shasta College Instructor John Livingston reflected on what this represents, “This has been a tremendous opportunity for the students to be out in the woods, actually logging, running the equipment, and now shipping their first load of logs.”

Under a logging contract and land use agreement with SPI, Shasta College provides real-world training to its HELO students on active mechanized logging sites. Student operators will load logging trucks at Shasta College training grounds on SPI timberland, where they will practice their skills in proper log loading, species identification, and sorting. Students will have the opportunity to safely secure log loads onto trailers bound for one of three SPI mills: Shasta Lake, Anderson, or Oroville. Shasta College anticipates delivering 4-6 loads of logs per week while student operators complete their required hands-on lab hours. As part of the full HELO certificate program, students receive Class A/B License training and spend time in the cab with industry partner professional drivers.

Proceeds received from logs delivered to SPI will be reinvested in the HELO certificate program assuring the program’s long-term sustainability to continue training the next generation of logging and forest workers responsible for improving the health and reducing the wildfire risk of California’s forests. This collaborative effort delivers opportunities for students across the region to work in the woods alongside natural resources/forestry professionals. With many logging professionals approaching retirement age, employers are seeking trained workers looking for a pathway to a livable wage career in an industry committed to sustainably managing our forests.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) is the administrator for the state’s Licensed Timber Operator (LTO) program. Shasta College's logging program is made possible thanks to support from the state government, local governments, community college leaders, and private industry.

For additional information about the Heavy Equipment Logging Operations training program, call Shasta College at (530) 242-7538.