SALEM - A Grant County logging company earned a top honor from the Oregon Board of Forestry last week.

Watterson Logging was among four to receive 2008 Forest Practices Operator of the Year awards during the board's Jan. 7 meeting.

Owned by Rusty Watterson of John Day, the company was recognized for two harvest operations that consisted of 66 acres of thinning, slash treatment, fuels reduction and minor commercial harvest in eastern part of Grant County.

The job was difficult, requiring work in densely overgrown conifer stands on steep, north-facing slopes adjacent to federal lands. The job left evenly-spaced mixed conifer stands that should be more resistent to fire, disease and insects.

"Watterson Logging consistently strives to do a good job," said Kirk Ausland, Oregon Department of Forestry stewardship forester in John Day. "They have been in business for many years in Grant County and are known as a trustworthy operator."

Winners are selected by regional forest practices advisory committees. Nominees are evaluated for their performance consistency, innovation in project design, commitment to protecting the natural resources, and the relative difficulty of the project.

The other winners were Bighorn Logging of Banks, Stimson Lumber Company of Forest Grove, and Huffman Wright of Canyonville. The board also gave merit awards to Plumley Contracting of White City, Eberhard Logging of Elgin and A-1 Logging of Yamhill.

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