Forester Friday features an Oregon forester with an interesting or unique contribution to the forestry field. This series is meant to highlight and recognize these stories.
The field of forestry offers a variety of career options and opportunities, and a multitude of ways to help forests. For Katie Nichols, working in forestry allows her to meet and work with a variety of people who make the day-to-day tasks that much more enjoyable.
Katie is a forest engineering operations assistant and sustainability coordinator for Lone Rock Timber Management in Roseburg, Ore. She’s been with Lone Rock since summer 2015.
Katie’s daily responsibilities include property line surveying and mapping, road layout and fish pipe design, and managing BLM road use and right-of-ways. In addition, she also manages Lone Rock’s Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) program and road-winterization operations. Lone Rock has been SFI-certified since 2015, and Katie has managed the program since 2018.
In addition to experience, education has played an important role in Katie’s journey in forestry. She graduated from Oregon State University with a bachelor’s degree in forest engineering.
For this profile, she answered a series of questions about her forestry story via email. Here are some of her responses (some edited for clarity/brevity).
What is your favorite part of your job? The variety and the people. I get to do something different every day, from road appraisals to running a total station for a survey. I also get to work with a lot of great people who have a variety of skills and backgrounds that make the day-to-day work even more enjoyable.
What drove your decision to work in forestry? After high school I started college studying social work, but after about a year I decided I wanted to pursue a career in engineering – and while looking at the engineering options at Oregon State, I came across forest engineering. I grew up doing outdoor activities and working with my hands, so I thought I would give forest engineering a go. And after a few intro classes, I knew it was what I wanted to do.
What is something you want people to know about your job, or the impact of your job? A major part of my job is managing Lone Rock’s SFI program. SFI is a third-party certification that verifies our operations are being managed sustainability. This means we’re considering wildlife, water and soil quality, cultural and visual resources, and the needs of the future while still producing enough timber to meet the needs of today. This is an important impact of my job, because it’s helping ensure that all future generations have the same options for forestry and outdoor recreation that I’ve had the privilege of enjoying.
What is your favorite outdoor activity in Oregon? My favorite outdoor activity outside what I do for work is spending time down at the river with my friends. In Douglas County we’re blessed to be able to enjoy the beauty of the Umpqua River, and during the summer I take advantage of that every chance I get!
Katie Nichols is just one of many Oregon foresters who enjoy the outdoors and the way their jobs allow them to help forests in Oregon remain healthy.
If you know an Oregon forester with an interesting or unique story we should share, email OFRI social media intern Autumn Barber at.