01:21:41 - 01:27:09 Environmentalism
environmentalism, forest management, retirement, Wieman, Mike; Wiedenhoeft, Alex; budgets
Do you have any idea about what caused that change?
It was a push on the society's part and a push with environmentalists really. And, you know, I'm looking at it and saying, well, as long as you're willing to say, we still need wood, and we're going to get it from Canada or overseas. Ok, if that's what you want, that's ok, because we're still using a heck of a lot of wood and we're getting it somewhere. And we are getting it off of some private, I mean more so now off of private areas in the United States, which are being managed by lumber companies or big companies or just private, little concerns. But we're also getting a lot of it from Canada and also from the Soviet Union, or former Soviet Union, and other places like that overseas. So, the price we pay is that we're, you know, we're not getting it here; we're getting it over somewhere else. And we're certainly using as much as, or more than we did in the '60s, that's for sure. So, I don't, you know, and I, what I see as a problem is that we're not managing the land we do have for timber. And as a consequence, if we wanted to decide to go cut it, we'd be in big trouble, because it wouldn't be managed for timber. It's going to be, it's managed as a conservation, or looking to manage for long-term, old-growth timber. But it does seem that, that when you have these big outbreaks of insects and big---and everything goes through and is dead---or a fire, and you don't do anything, you just let it sit seems, to me, wasteful. I can't, that's just me. Anyway.
Well, if you have any other stories or memories about the Lab, we're going to move into retirement.
Oh, no I don't. I've told enough stories, I think. I've got plenty.
Well, is there anything in particular that made you decide to retire? Or was it just time?
It was just time. A couple things really made me---one of the things was, before I retired, I wanted to make sure that maybe somebody was there to take over. And I did hire this fellow that I knew from a long time ago, Mike Wieman. I brought him on board, and then I thought I should stay a couple of years and then I could retire. And it was, it was time for me to retire. I had, there, almost forty years in, and, frankly, I went the old retirement system and I was working for nothing, almost, you know, based on if you start figuring out how much money you're going to get in your pension and how much money you're earning now. And you start thinking about it all, and you think, oh golly, I could retire and almost make as much money as I am now because I had so many years in. So, as a consequence, I just thought it was time to go and it seemed like that Mike would take over then and he could become the project leader. He's an older fellow, and I thought well, and we had a younger guy, Alex Wiedenhoeft, who's coming on. He was still doing his PhD, so he wasn't a scientist yet, still not a scientist yet. He still hasn't gotten his PhD, but he's going to get it this summer, I guess. Anyway, so he kind of took over the identification aspect of things and, and then Mike I thought was going to be the project leader. And then our secretary retired, and there was a technician also, and they never replaced that person. So, those things really got to be a problem. But I thought Mike would take over as project leader and then, eventually, he'd be able to hire somebody to bring on and, you know, take care of some of the routine stuff that, if you have to take care of, really cuts into your day. But, that didn't happen. Mike was going to take over and everything was set, he was even acting project leader, and then they decided to reorganize. And because of the tremendous cutbacks at the federal level, or at the Lab and everything. So, we're now not a project, and Bob's the project leader, and Alex and Mike are still there. But for me it was, it was, I just had to, it was time, it was time to go. But I still come in as a volunteer, so, you know.
Do you feel like your work left a mark on the Forest Products Lab or on the Forest Service?
Yeah, I do. I think I did---I kind of feel like I was just the, you know, the next guy in line to take care of the wood collection and the wood identification. Kuky was there before me and, and then I came along and learned under him. And Bob Koeppen would have actually taken over, but he decided to go to Washington. And he had been there for a number of years, actually. But then when I took over as project leader, then I got all of it. So, yeah.