Letters for 03-19-2015

Timber Contributes To Union Economy
EDITOR’S NOTE: In response to a Page 1 story last week, which led to a
follow up story in this week’s edition of The Gazette, Sonny Auger submitted a
“Letter To The Editor.” Rather than try to edit it to fit guidelines for submitted
letters, we are running it as a guest column. There has been a lot of news lately about
problems caused by loggers due to weather
in Union Parish.
My family has been involved in the
timber industry as long as I can remember.
My granddaddy had a sawmill before
I was born. I guess there has always been
a conflict between loggers and other parties.
Someone set fire to all his lumber and
burned the mill down.
Most of the time, my dad worked with
logging. I remember when he farmed, he
would take the flat bed off his truck and put
log bolsters on it and buy timber and haul
it to provide in the winter time.
In 1945, he and his brother went into
the logging business for the company now
known as Plum Creek. Soon after, heavy
rains began and they were unable to work
because the mule teams could not stand up
in the woods. He told his brother they were
not making enough to support both families,
so one should buy the other out. My
uncle did, and after 70 years the company
still exists. Many people have made a living
to provide for the families working for this
company through the years.
When I got old enough to get out on my
own, I decided to go into construction work.
In the winter when our work would shut
down, I could always work in the woods to
help pay my bills and support my family. In
1984, construction work got very slow, so I
went back to the woods to work. In 1999, I
went back to construction work and continued
until I retired. When I was working
and would come home for winter, I would
continue to work in logging. In a few days
I will be 73 years old, and I still help when
I know from experience that logging
can be nasty and it can cause problems
in communities where they are working.
Before you criticize loggers, think of the
problems they are experiencing. They are
trying to pay for equipment that can cost
from $150,000 to $600,000 per piece. In addition,
they pay insurance, taxes and other
expenses. For every gallon of fuel they
burn in their trucks, they pay 45 cents per
gallon for road maintenance. Each year,
they pay $412 in federal highway taxes and
$240 in Louisiana highway taxes.
Also consider that the timber industry is
the leading revenue provider for Union Parish.
If it were not for the landowners that
voted for and supported the property tax for
our school system, the positive changes we
are seeing now would not be taking place.
I will close with a thought about my family.
My dad was the only sibling who didn’t
receive a high school or college diploma
because his older brother had purchased a
school bus and my dad drove it to school.
You talk about bad roads now. He said,
“In wet weather, I would be so dirty I was
embarrassed to go to class, so I would go to
the pool hall.” One day the principal asked
him, “Ernest, are you going to school or to
the poll hall?” He said, “The pool hall.” It
was two years before his parents knew he
had quit school.
As I have already stated, logging has
benefitted our communities in many ways.
Thanks to the timber owners and logging
contractors for all you contribute to Union
E.E. “Sonny” Auger is a lifelong resident
of Union Parish.