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Kimball’s Logging named Minnesota Logger of the Year

Kelly Kimball and sons of Park Rapids are recognized for their sustainable forestry practices.

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MSFI implementation committee vice chair Dick Moore, at left, presents the 2021 Minnesota Logger of the Year award to Kelly Kimball and Justin Kimball of Kimball's Logging.

Kimball’s Logging of Park Rapids has been named the 2021 Minnesota Logger of the Year by the Minnesota Sustainable Forestry Initiative implementation committee (MSFI).

The award was presented to Kelly Kimball and Justin Kimball at the Minnesota Logger Education Program workshop earlier this month in Bemidji.

According to a release from MSFI, the award recognizes outstanding performance as an independent logging contractor.

The Kimballs’ nomination calls their operation “a testimony to what a modern-day business focused on timberland management can successfully be” and notes that the Kimballs supply wood fiber to the state’s forest products economy while harvesting trees in an environmentally sensitive manner, the release states.

“Kimball’s Logging is a shining example of the outstanding work Minnesota’s loggers perform in managing our state’s forests and keeping them healthy,” said MSFI chair Quintin Legler.

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Legler added that Kimball’s standards are above the norm, and that Kelly Kimball’s involvement in professional programs and associations help his and other logging businesses meet the challenging demands of their profession.

Private landowner Bob Cavanagh of Becker County hired Kimball’s Logging to harvest 1,700 cords of timber from his family’s property. Cavanagh wrote in support of the company’s nomination for the award.
“They were prompt, fair, communicative, showed respect for our land, and left it in good condition when they were finished,” Cavanagh wrote. “Kimball’s crew was friendly and flexible (and) they worked together like a well-oiled machine.”

Kelly Kimball learned the business from his father, who learned it from his father before him, the release states. The Kimball family traces their history in the logging and sawmill industry back to settlers who came from England to Massachusetts in 1634.

Kelly went into business with his two brothers while he was still in high school in Park Rapids. Today, he operates Kimball’s Logging with his sons, Zach and Justin.

Kelly has also served as president of the MLEP board of directors, on his township’s board of commissioners and is currently vice president of the Timber Producers Association.

Stan Grossman of Itasca Woodland Services nominated Kimball Logging for the state award. Grossman said he had worked with Kelly Kimball for about 20 years, adding, “I’ve seen him constantly improving his technique, equipment and approach during this time. They take great care to follow the harvest prescriptions and avoid unnecessary damage to the residual trees. They truly care about doing a great job for landowners.”

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