By Haley Yarborough

Sanders receives prestigious award


August 4, 2022

Photo provided

Pyramid Mountain Lumber Resource Manager Gordy Sanders is the 39th recipient of the William Schlich Memorial Award since it was first given to President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935.

SEELEY LAKE - Pyramid Mountain Lumber Resource Manager Gordy Sanders received the 2022 William Schlich Memorial Award for his 46 years of outstanding work that influenced local, state and national forestry policy. Sanders is one of only 39 recipients of the award in 88 years. 

The first two recipients of this award included the 32nd President of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935 and Gifford Pinchot, the first head of the United States Forest Service, in 1940. 

"When you look into the criteria for the award and look at who received it previously, it's amazing," Sanders said. 

The award is given out every two years by the Society of American Foresters and recognizes broad and outstanding contributions to the field of forestry, with an emphasis on, but not limited to, policy and national or international activities. 

The award is in memory of Sir William Schlich, a 19th-century English forester and the founder of the School of Forestry at Oxford University in 1905. 

Sanders said he did not apply for the award. Instead his forestry colleagues nominated him.

Scott Kuehn, the resource forester for Pyramid Mountain Lumber, said he's nominated Sanders for several years, alternating between the Gifford Pinchot metal and the William Schlich Memorial Award. 

"He has his fingers all the way up the chain," Kuehn said. "He just makes sure that we have active forest management now and in the future." 

For the award, Kuehn submitted a biosketch of Sander's work in forestry, highlighting his college work and career in forestry afterward. 

Sanders received his bachelor's in Forest and Range Management from the University of Minnesota in 1971. From 1972 to 1993, Sanders worked as the Procurement Manager, District Land Manager and Forester for Champion International, all while obtaining his master's in Forest and Range Management from Washington State University in 1986. 


After Champion was sold in 1993, he worked for Plum Creek Timber Company where he served as Senior Forester and Manager of Log Planning and Procurement. Since 1996, Sander has been the Resource Manager for Pyramid Mountain Lumber, where Kuehn said he's left an "indelible mark in numerous ways." 

In the biosketch, Kuehn provides examples of Sander's accomplishments. One example of Sander's work was in the early 1980s when he pursued strategies and implementation of heli-torch burning on complex burns. His professional action and approach developed into a presentation he gave at the National Wildfire Coordination Group Interagency, which provides national leadership to wildland fire operations among federal, state, local, tribal and territorial partners. 

Kuehn said Sander's also recognized the importance of educating private landowners on forest management, harvest practices and ecological sustainability. 

"He was instrumental in working collaboratively with various interests from Industry, Logging community, Forest Service, State of Montana, Department of Environmental Quality, EPA, and Environmental Community and developed Montana's Voluntary Forestry Best Management Practices (BMP) in 1987," Kuehn wrote in the biosketch. 

Another accomplishment Kuehn noted was Sander's co-authoring House Joint Resolution 49, which directed the Montana Environmental Quality Council to study the effectiveness of Montana's Voluntary Forestry Best Management Practices. 

Sanders said he's honored to receive the award and a little surprised he received it. 

Photo provided

Pyramid Mountain Lumber Resource Manager Gordy Sanders (red hard hat) sharing his knowledge with stakeholders on a field tour.

"I think it's important for folks to realize that when an award of any recognition is given, no one is really pursuing that recognition," Sanders said. "They're just doing what they do, because it's the right thing to do." 


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