Did you know that logging practices have changed over the years?
Updated: May 23
Meet Danny Sines, Owner of Generation III Logging and President of the Mt. Loggers Group
The name Generation III Logging “speaks for itself,” says 3rd-generation logger Danny Sines.
Currently run by Sines and his nephew Patrick, the family company dates back to World War II and his grandfather, Ralph Sines. Danny Sines has been involved with the family logging business since he was around 10 and it goes back to those days in the woods with his grandad.
The family used to cut a lot of mine posts, which support and stabilize mine shafts. “Grandpap would cut it and I would be right beside him,” says Sines. He would “tag along and run the measuring pole” on 5-6” trees before his grandfather Ralph would eventually cut 6-7’ foot mine posts.
During the World War II era, the eldest Sines had 2 sawmills and 6 to 7 trucks in operation and supplied a lot of lumber material to steel mills in Pittsburgh. When he was drafted, he went to report for duty but after finding out about the logging/timber work he was doing, it was determined he was “more valuable” on the home front and provided wood to mills while the war was going on."
Sines’ grandfather actually started out with horses moving the timber along production lines. Back then, sawmills were taken to the logging site, with the timber skidded by horses and pulled right into the mills and eventually loaded on to the trucks. “It was pretty efficient for them,” says Sines, with the end product being put directly on the truck on site and delivered. His father Gene Sines eventually took over the business in the early ‘70s, continuing on as R Sines Lumber and Logging, and even being honored in the past as Logger of the Year.
One of a family of five, Danny Sines is the only one that stayed with the business, “out of love of the business,” he says. And it all “stems from hanging with grandpap, my father and uncle Kenny all the time,” he adds. While his father was winding down running the business operations, Sines decided to start his own company and go fully automated, eventually merging with his father’s company under what is now Generation III Logging. Gene and Kenny are still part of that family logging heritage, with Gene running the bulldozer at the age of 76, and Kenny taking care of a lot of the trucking.
“I’m very fortunate to have mostly family working for us,” Sines says. Five out of seven employees are family, and his nephew Patrick is a lot like him, having spent a lot of time hanging around Danny and his dad in the woods. “Anybody in timber and logging just has a love for the outdoors, and he definitely has that,” he says.
His nephew graduated college with a degree in business and accounting, but after spending “a few months in the bank in the summer” decided it wasn’t for him. That’s when he approached Danny about joining the family business. “It was intriguing to me to be able to pass on the family business and keep it in the family. Hopefully he’ll be able to continue this thing for a long time,” Sines says.
An even more important person in the establishment and success of Generation III is Sines’ wife, Judy. “I could never have done it without my wife. She was fully supportive and backed me,” he adds.
Since the establishment of the business, markets have definitely changed and even more so since the time of Ralph Sines, says grandson Danny. There is no market for mine posts, with a more modern approach using a giant lathe. He points out how he saw the mine posts as hurting the timber industry since they were taking only the nicest, straightest trees, aka high grading, and leaving only low market value timber behind.
These lessons learned help Sines try to direct the timber industry in a more sustainable way, looking to create new markets and establish a more regenerative, cyclical approach to logging and harvesting. “Landowners are losing money, the state is going to lose money…because there is no market for low grade since the Luke mill closure,” says Sines.
The lack of low-grade markets in MD is his biggest hurdle, so much so that he has his logs contracted to a sawmill in Pennsylvania and his pulp wood markets are in West Virginia and Ohio. In the face of increasing fuel costs, they are trying to cut more timber closer to their pulp markets, with a lot of pulp companies stepping up and putting in fuel bonus programs to help out, Sines points out. The lack of markets in Maryland leaves landowners missing out, or even subject to the return of high grading practices.
Another challenge, as with many industries nowadays, is labor shortage. “We couldn’t find help if we weren’t automated,” he says. A region-specific obstacle for Sines is how they have to work incredibly hard all summer to be able to survive the winter in Garrett County and inability to get to sites and work during that time period.
He’s been an advocate before state legislators on the many issues confronting the logging industry, and also always looks for ways to educate the public on his field and loggers themselves. “We’ve worked really hard, are proud of where we’re at and where we came from, and hope to make the next generation better,” Sines says.
One of the most impactful things he is involved with is the Mountain Loggers Group. The Mountain Loggers Group was started in 2006 as a co-op to support those in the industry and cut some of the costs of doing business. It has progressed to a 501-C3 nonprofit, thanks to his nephew Patrick’s help who serves as treasurer and the older and younger members of the group working together for the common good to help those in need. The group gives back to the community annually through a log auction, with all proceeds going to the West Virginia University Children’s Hospital.
Over $2 million has been raised by the group since its first auction in ’06, with about $150,000 raised just this year, says Sines. They’re currently looking at sponsoring another hospital room after putting their charitable work to use in getting a cafeteria built at the hospital in the past.
The Mountain Loggers Group also helps families in need in the area, with a monthly meeting to look at who they can help and how. Sines is the current president of the group, starting 3 years ago. “I’ve always said loggers are rough people, but they have big hearts. They’ll do anything for anybody,” he says.
Whether in the nonprofit world or in the woods, Sines tries to abide by his father’s advice: “Do everything responsibly and the right way and leave things better than when we came.” This is a motto he and his company Generation III Logging live by.
Photo Credit: EDWIN REMSBERG PHOTOGRAPHS
Project Support: RURAL MARYLAND COUNCIL
"Loggers are a little rough on the exterior, but they have big hearts."- Danny Sines
This year the Mountain Loggers Group, a tri-state organization based in Maryland donated $165,301.15 and a truckload of toys to the WVU Children's Hospital. Total contributions have exceeded $2 million. They don't do it for the recognition, they do it because they care. Their motto:
Trees are our renewable resource, but children are our most precious resource.
LINKS TO LEARN MORE:
Log a Load for Kids
Mt. Loggers Group Facebook Page
Biomass Energy Initiative
Economic Adjustment Strategy Full Report
Executive Summary Maryland supports one of the most diverse and prolific forest ecosystems in the United States. It stretches from the pine stands on the Eastern Shore, renowned for quality and density, to the Appalachian hardwoods of Western Maryland, which are recognized worldwide as premier inputs for fine furniture cabinetry. When combined with the interests of our committed forest products entrepreneurs, these assets provide innovative products to the market, create well-paying urban and rural jobs, and are vital to the environmental health of the Chesapeake Bay. The industry, however, is undergoing restructuring and contraction. This decline hits Maryland’s rural communities hard, where job loss and economic transition can be painful and difficult from which to recover. In response, Western Maryland Resource Conservation and Development Council (WMRC&D) worked with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), The Maryland Department of Commerce (DOC) and the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) to develop this Economic Adjustment Strategy (EAS) to help foster a resilient and sustainable transition by rebuilding and modernizing the forest products industry in the state. This effort engages both the private and public sectors in a unified campaign to assure a robust future for the industry for many years to come.
Vision Statement The Economic Adjustment Strategy envisions a future in which the economic activities associated with Maryland’s forest products industry supports vibrant communities and strong industry growth while also contributing to a healthy Chesapeake Bay.
Mission Statement Take advantage of unique assets, resource diversity, and environmentally engaged consumers to build sustainable markets for Maryland’s forest product entrepreneurs. The EAS accomplishes this by focusing development efforts on a set of overarching goals that tie together the industry's common interests, community, and public policy
Advocating at a Forestry Briefing in Annapolis
Pictured L-R: William Miles, Rusty Leonard, Danny Sines, Secretary Jeannie Haddaway- Riccio, Tom Johnson, Beth Hill, Lin Spicer, Jonathan Kays, Ann Swanson, Gary Allen