RUMFORD – A free public forum will be held from 7 to 8:30 a.m. Friday, May 1, in the Rumford Eagles Hall, to explore Maine wood supply issues.

Speakers at “Cutting to the Chase: A Wood Supply Issue for Maine?” include John Williams of the Maine Pulp and Paper Association, Sandra Brawders of the Trust to Conserve Northeast Forestlands and Certified Professional Loggers, and Dave Struble, director of the Maine Forest Service’s Forest Health and Monitoring Division.

They are members of Gov. John Baldacci’s Panel on Optimizing Wood Harvesting in Maine, which began meeting in November.

According to a Friday report from Linda Walbridge, executive director of the Western Maine Economic Development Council, Maine has a well-developed wood products industry with existing mills, an extensive network of roads, a well-trained work force, and accessible markets.

“Recent reports, however, indicate that numbers of acres harvested in the state are decreasing while competition for forest resources among various wood consumers is on the rise,” Walbridge said.

Last October, Gov. John Baldacci appointed a panel of wood-user experts to follow up the September report of the Wood-to-Energy Task Force.

Walbridge said the task force recommended government action to facilitate a sustainable supply of wood capable of meeting the demands of stakeholder industries and groups.

The Oxford County Educational Breakfast Forum will be held in the hall at 129 Rumford Ave. and includes a complimentary pancake breakfast. For more information or to RSVP, contact Mia Purcell at 739-6543 or [email protected]

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