Managing lots for today, future; Chaplin Logging lands state honor

LOGGER OF THE YEAR — Chaplin Logging, Inc., of Naples was recently awarded the Logger of the Year Award in a ceremony held in Brewer. This award recognizes a PLC Logging Contractor for their commitment to the sustainability of the industry and logging as a profession. Corey and Caleb Chaplin (left) are pictured here accepting the award.

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

NAPLES — For three generations, the great outdoors is where the Chaplins want to be each day.

It all started in the mid-1960s when Melvin Chaplin headed into the woods to log with a John Deere Crawler. In 1977, Melvin bought his first cable skidder, a John Deere 440 A Cable Skidder. Ten years later, two of Melvin’s sons, Charlie and Corey, bought the business from their father and officially established what is today, Chaplin Logging Inc.

Over the past 30 years, Chaplin Logging has continued to thrive and grow. The company today consists of one full-time crew of five, all of whom are members of the Chaplin family.

The Professional Logging Contractors (PLC) of Maine recently honored the Chaplins by awarding the company the Logger of the Year Award during its 23rd Annual Meeting held at Jeff’s Catering in Brewer.

“Our Annual Meeting is a time to reflect, a time to celebrate and a time to plan for the future,” PLC Executive Director Dana Doran said. “The PLC has made important strides on behalf of loggers, forest contractors, and forest truckers and stands ready to continue its work on behalf of the industry for years to come.”

The Logger of the Year Award recognizes a PLC logging contractor for their commitment to the sustainability of the industry and logging as a profession.

“We were honored to be recognized for this award because we received it from the people whom we work with, the landowners, foresters and mills,” Corey Chaplin said.

Maine’s loggers are a vital part of the state’s forest products sector, which is worth an estimated $8.5 billion annually. Maine’s logging industry contributes $882 million to the state’s economy each year and supports more than 7,300 direct and indirect jobs in the state.

The PLC of Maine was formed in 1995 to give independent logging contractors and sole proprietors a voice in a rapidly changing forest industry. A Board of Directors made up entirely of loggers makes the PLC the only logging organization in Maine run by loggers for loggers. The mission of the PLC is to promote logging as a profession, advocate for logging professionals, cultivate responsible forest management, and sustain a strong forest products industry.

“As part of our quest to recognize those who play such an integral role in the success of our industry, we started a new tradition in 2015 whereby we recognize one of our own for their commitment to the sustainability of the industry and logging as a profession,” Doran said.

Chaplin Logging is a family-owned, and fully-mechanized logging company. Throughout the years, the company has seen minimal turnover. Corey and Charlie’s brother, Clint Chaplin, have been with the company for over 20 years. Within the last eight years, the company has welcomed two younger, third generation employees, Trevor and Caleb Chaplin, who both started with the company right after high school.

Chaplin primarily does selective harvesting for all their woodlots. Working along with landowners and their forester, they take pride in maintaining and harvesting our forests professionally. As members of the PLC and as a Master Logger certified company, they strive to provide beautiful harvested land for landowners in the great state of Maine.

“The company’s philosophy is to view every woodlot as if it were our own. We believe this the key to our success. The woodlots that we own are being managed for sustainability for the future generations of Chaplin Logging,” Corey said. “Communication and paying attention detail has allowed us to work with excellent landowners, foresters and mills we work with, and has enabled us to grow.”

Case in point. One customer wrote the following review: “This family company is a joy to work with. I asked for selective cutting with a goal for wildlife conservation. They did exactly that. My 66 acres look absolutely beautiful. They left the ground in great shape, no slash left anywhere. I will recommend them to anyone who needs logging work done on their land. Thank you to the Chaplin Crew!”

Corey says to this day the company continues to follow the spirit and principles set for by his dad.

“It has allowed us to learn from the knowledge of past time and apply it to present and add in new technologies that are necessary for today’s logging,” he said. “What lured us to work in the logging industry was we started in the woods at an early age. We learned about the benefits of working outside and being in nature. As the years pass, it allows us to see our finished work and see sustainable woodlots grow.”

Corey says some of the biggest challenges Chaplin Logging faces today are adapting to how the woodlots are being managed.

“From the growing of timber, aesthetics, recreational, to commercial, the continuous change of markets also makes it hard with mill closures, and the overall cost of doing business,” he said.

Chaplin Logging also gives back to the community by donating time and expertise to the local Boy Scouts Troop and sponsoring the Cumberland County 4-H Club.

Doran pointed out that each year, as PLC considers companies to present this award to, the organization seeks nominations from those who work with members.

Charlie Hall, a wood buyer for Sappi, said, “The quality of their work in the woods, willingness to go the extra mile to do the right thing, and overall professionalism are why I nominate Chaplin Logging for Logger of the Year.”

Paul Larrivee Sr., a procurement forester for Sappi, said, “I have known the Chaplin Logging family for just shy of 20 years. What impressed me was that they were always willing to call, meet and ask advice. They always wanted to do the right thing. When I moved into my current role at Sappi, the Chaplins were the first crew I approached about working with me in the Sappi Stumpage Program. After seven years of working closely with them, they continue to shine as elite contractors. Their work in the woods and connection with landowners, abutters and the general public are impeccable. Whenever I have a particularly difficult lot or situation, the Chaplins are my go-to crew. They truly make my job as a forester much easier. The entire logging industry should be proud to have the Chaplins as members. The Chaplins quietly go to work every day and perform exceptional work without doing any self-promotion. They truly deserve this recognition.”

Nick Edwards, Harvest Operations manager at Hancock Lumber Company, said, “I have known the Chaplin family for 17 years now. It all started when I started scaling White Pine logs at Hancock Lumber in Casco. Their attention to detail on lengths, diameter and grade were phenomenal. Their #1 priority is to make the landowner the highest dollar rather than their own production. When I moved into my current position as Harvest Operations Manager at Hancock Land Co., they were the crew I chose to harvest our own land. They represent high standards in this industry.”

Forester Don Winslow added, “The quality of their work is nothing short of exceptional. They truly deserve the recognition.”

Chaplin Logging plans to continue to keep moving forward, keep learning, researching, and practicing safety techniques to keep forests and woodlots thriving. The Naples loggers are proud to be one of Maine’s small businesses contributing to the state’s economy and forest health.

“As the PLC marches on into a changing forest economy, it is logging contractors like Chaplin Logging Inc., who epitomize the attitude, dedication and skill our industry needs to succeed now and in the future,” Doran added.


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