Students in Shasta College’s logging operations program are helping defer their program’s costs while they train.

They’re selling logs they harvest to North State sawmills. It’s an income stream made possible by the college’s recently-acquired commercial timber operator license.

That license means students in the college’s Heavy Equipment Logging Operations (HELO) program can learn all the steps involved in their field: From actual logging and running the equipment to shipping loads of logs to the mill, instructor John Livingston said in an email to the Record Searchlight.

The college’s logging contract and land use agreement with lumber giant Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) gives students the chance to train on active mechanized logging sites. They learn log loading, species identification, sorting, and how to safely secure log loads onto trailers for delivery to SPI mills in Shasta Lake, Anderson and Oroville.

“We are training boots-on-the-ground, purpose-built heavy logging operators,” Program Coordinator Becky Roe. “It’s the only training program of its kind in California.”

Becoming a Licensed Timber Operator allows the college to collect proceeds from logs students harvest, marketing director Peter Griggs said. Monies raised will help pay for the HELO program’s fuel and consumables, and for equipment maintenance and repairs.

The first load of contracted logs — 34 Douglas firs — was delivered to SPI’s Anderson sawmill. The logs averaged 36-feet in length, and totaled about 3,930 board feet.

Instructors estimate students will deliver four to six loads per week while they complete their required hands-on lab hours.

Program coordinator Becky Roe said she doesn’t yet know how much money the college will get for the first or subsequent loads. 

Shasta College launched its HELO program in autumn 2019. 

Source: Redding Record Searchlight