........Comment by Bill Moore

...The forest around us

Finland at mid-summer 1976
(Part II)

....I stood in the wood receiving yard of the A. Ahlstrom Co.’s integrated mills site at Varkaus, in south eastern Finland and marveled at the neatness of what I was viewing. There was the sawmill, the plywood mill, the sulphite pulp mill, and the paper mill.
....I observed the construction of what will be one of the fastest paper mach-ines in the world when it comes in next summer. Saw logs , plywood logs and pulp wood is received at this site by truckload, by rail and by waterways.
....The entire area was blacktopped with various sorts of pine, spruce and birch neatly piled like small mountains. The complex employs about 4000 people – who live in very small suburb areas, apart from the mills.
....An engineering works of the company is also nearby that builds pulp mill components that are exported to many other countries.
....The scene is one of complete utilization of the tree – and done in a manner with care for the environment and the quality of life.

....It was interesting to observe the nice fat friendly trout swimming in an enclosed area where the pre-cleaned effluent of the pulp mill was emitted. But then this is the heritage of the Finlander – a clean country.
....I talked with the various managers of the mills and could not help but notice that the quality of work and the quality of life in the area was their greatest concern. A. Ramsay, the resi-dent general manager in charge of local administration and community relations, showed me with pride the new housing project for employees – single houses and apartments that are


company sponsored.
....Varkaus, a town of 12,000 people, is a forestry town, set in a part of the country that abounds in beautiful waterways, small farms, tourist resorts, scenic blacktop roads and logging. In the southeastern sector I had pointed out to me, two areas of 200 acre clear cut logging sites. No one seemed up tight about the clear cutting. It is not done everywhere in Finland, granted, but it is apparently a necessity in these particular areas, as the Finlanders are up against high costs brought on by the energy crisis, high taxation and the world recession in wood products.
....I asked about labor management relations and if strikes and labor unrest had occurred recently as they have over here. For an answer and to get labor’s side of things, I was allowed to speak with the head union represen-tative at the pulp mill. I asked this gentleman about their production committee, and if it was working to labor’s satisfaction. He stated it was, and the committee, made up of equal labor and management representatives was proud of the part they play in the large milling complex.
....Because I had read of the recent reports over here of the German production committees, I asked if his committee or union wanted to have a director for the company from the ranks of the employees. He seemed quite surprised at this question and stated that the way things were being run seemed quite satisfactory to the union and he saw no need for such a person on the board of directors.
....We talked at great length on matters of safety, of production and of the general atmosphere of the work life.

His answers were straight forward and while there are always things to be dis-cussed between management and labor, there was not a hint of the anta-gonism one too often finds from the same man in one of our mills.
....I have spent time with other labor delegates of other production commi-ttees in Finland and at no time have I ever found either side bitching about the other. There exists in this country of near five million people a common courtesy between people that finds solutions to problems in a bit more calm way than we do. Possibly this is because they have shared so much adversity together in war torn times. This has given them a better trust in each other in peaceful times.

....How peaceful? Well I viewed the 30-foot Russian towers just over the border of Finland that stretch along its 1,000 mile border. The “friendly neighbors” – who cannot visit Finland unless they are diplomats in big black cars, never take their eyes off the Finlanders. The “friendly neighbor” took away the fine farmlands of the Karalia Peninsula in the south and the mineral mountains in the northeast after the last war, and erected the watch towers. There is every reason for the Finlanders to feel a need for one ano-ther when they cast their eyes east-ward.
....Not having such boundary worries with the U.S.A., we are able to spend our energies at home fighting with each other – labor, management and government. We don’t need to feel united, for who cares what Uncle Sam will do – as long as he beams us some good American T.V. shows. Maybe

British Columbia Lumberman, September, 1976

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we need a bit more unfriendly neigh-bors to bring us a bit of unity of purpose. Surely it shouldn’t take that!
....I found it most interesting while wan-dering the byways and highways of Fin-land, to find the use of the forests by tourists so heavy. Finlanders have always deserted their cities in the summer months and headed for the “summer places.” Some of these cottages or houses are on the many thousand scattered of the southwest archipelago. Others are all over south-ern Finland in the many thousand lake areas. Forest growth is everywhere, and the citizens love nothing better than making use of their forested waterways to camp in, roam about picking wild berries and just being with nature. It is a heritage, not a safari as we sometimes see it over here.
....Our government and management of the forest have now become more used to the demands that our people and tourists put on our forests for their pleasure. We still need more good campsites, better supervision of the campsites and we need better facilities at the campsites. Our own people do not treat our present campsites with the respect they should for it is really all too new to them. There is not the heritage of everyone sharing in the forest and looking after its betterment that one finds in Finland. Maybe it will come to us someday when more of us realize what a fabulous asset our forests really are.
....At near the longest day in June I took a trip to Lapland to see the famed midnight sun. At the 69th parallel in the small town of Inari, about 150 miles opposite Murmansk in Russia, I saw the sun at midnight as I drank my glass of orange juice. It is a beautiful countryside in this far northern reach. A small inn – serving excellent reindeer chops and fresh stream trout, alongside a rushing river – with spruce trees growing to a maximum of 40 feet.
....The forest floor is covered in mosses, wild flowers and berries. The fine blacktop roads lead to the south and north – and tourists have little trouble in finding accommodations. English id spoken to the extent that the\traveler has no trouble finding himself understood.
....As a logger I was impressed to see in this “shortened forest” the piles of pulpwood – and to see a portable sawmill at work cutting lumber from what must be very old trees. I noticed the trees were selectively cut, giving one still a good view of the growing “short forest.” A most pleasant part of


the world is Lapland - and as one sits before one’s reindeer chops with a tinkling glass of orange juice at hand and gazes at the sun at midnight, one can truly feel like that old song “I’m sitting on top of the world.”
....People back here have asked me about the production figures of mills and logging in Finland. For some reason I did not find these things of interest, possibly because I was not looking for comparisons, but rather new avenues. If figures are your thing though, you will find the Finlanders most free with their talk on this subject. There is little point, it seems, in hiding such things when even individuals’ incomes for the year are published in newspapers. What’s to hide!
....Finland is a modern country with an old fashioned flavor. It is steeped in traditions of courtesy, cleanliness and an awareness of the world around them. Pride is a tradition there, the sauna is a tradition. Oh, by the way,


you do know that their forests are nearly 75% privately owned don’t you? Of course our B.C. forests are 96 percent owned by the government. We call ourselves free enterprise and their system socialistic! You figure it out, I can’t.
....The forest around us. It is man’s garden of many things. Certainly of beauty, but also of products, of jobs and a place to be close to nature. It was put here for our use – if we use it properly. It was put here to be always renewable – if we see that it is helped to be renewed. And it was put here to enjoy – as the Finlanders enjoy it. Let us and others always enjoy it too – and not take it for granted.

But remember,
Keep out of the bight,


British Columbia Lumberman, September, 1976