Burning and building

Wyatt Trull gathers chunks of trees cut by other crew members to put into burn piles — one of the most common techniques of forest fire prevention. Trull decided to pursue forestry after completing a wilderness and civilizations minor. “I’m out here to learn a real professional skill. I want to be really good at something,” he said.
Mark Vander Meer compares two different types of wood that are processed in the Bad Goat Forest Products wood shop. Bad Goat brought this wood from Vander Meer’s other company, Watershed Consulting.

“We don’t sell things you can find at Lowes or Home Depot. No, it has to be special.” — Mark Vander Meer

Left: The Bad Goat wood shop displays slabs of different trees felled from Western Montana. The slabs are often bought for use as custom furniture such as bar tops, benches and dining room tables. Right: Lead Forester Josiah Denham watches as snow falls off of a young Ponderosa pine he cut down. “What we’re doing here is a grant through the Blackfoot Challenge. They pay 50 percent and the owner of the land pays 50 percent,” Denham said. The Blackfoot Challenge is an organization of landowners around the Blackfoot River who promote conservation and resource sharing in the area.
Aaron Howard (left) and Wyatt Trull carry their equipment to a job site at a private residence in the Potomac Valley. Howard has more than 15 years of forestry experience since studying at the Missoula College of Technology. He’s spent six of those years working at Bad Goat. Founder Mark Vander Meer said his employees are “the ones with the real talent.”
Left: Pete Meuhmer (back) and his girlfriend, Heather Graham, adjust the height of the conjoined chainsaw, which is made up of two saws that rotate a single chain. The extended length of the saw makes cutting slabs from large logs possible. Meuhmer and Graham moved to Montana from the Detroit area after working various forestry related jobs around the country. Right: Meuhmer and Graham cut slabs from a tree at the lumber mill near the Scott Street Bridge Bad Goat processes the leftover, unwanted wood that Watershed doesn’t sell to outside companies. “It does a really good job of being efficient, maximizing what you can utilize and minimizing waste,” Meuhmer said about the relationship between Watershed and Bad Goat.

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The Montana Kaimin is the student newspaper of the University of Montana. Independent since 1898. Visit us at montanakaimin.com

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Montana Kaimin

Montana Kaimin

The Montana Kaimin is the student newspaper of the University of Montana. Independent since 1898. Visit us at montanakaimin.com

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