Jobs, Careers & People in Idaho Forests

Around 15,000 people work in Idaho's forest products sector today. They produce over $1.6 billion of wood and paper products each year from a renewable resource -- trees. These jobs benefit Idaho's forest economy and society. Their work results in healthy, productive and sustainable forests for the future.

Idaho's forest sector provides opportunities for young men and women with a wide range of interests and skills. A variety of employers throughout the state have positions for a wide range of jobs in diverse areas such as research, recreation, land management, new product development, transportation, computer programming and operations, and many aspects of forestry and forest product manufacturing.

Whether you are a high school graduate, working your way through school or want to apply an advanced degree, there are job options and opportunities in Idaho's forest sector. Career advancement can lead to excellent life-long careers in Idaho's forests and forest products manufacturing plants and mills. And, wages in Idaho's forest sector are substantially higher than other industries and well above the state's average. Competitive wages and benefits are offered by many forest products and forest-related employers.

Wood and paper products manufacturing is a major part of Idaho's economic base and is the largest basic industry in northern Idaho.

What's down the road… The future holds tremendous potential and opportunities for Idaho's 21 million acres of forestland. Innovations and technical advances continue to grow and diversify the fields of forestry and forest products. Industry analysis through 2020 project employment opportunities and growth in the forest sector. Global demand for wood products is rising. In addition, a wave of retirements in the forest sector is expected over the next decade, opening up many more jobs.

A career in the forest sector may be a good fit if you enjoy:
Watching wildlife
Reading about science or the outdoors
Working with computers, high-tech machines and tools
Scouting, hiking and camping
Hunting and fishing
Working with people in teams
Scientific research
Gardening and farming
Making a difference
Being part of a community
Working in a fast paced environment
Spending time outdoors
Challenging opportunities

  Look to the Forest Video: Jobs in the Forest Industry   runtime 4:38 min

Learn about Jobs in Idaho ’s Forests -- a career lattice from the Idaho Department of labor

FIND YOUR PATH: A booklet for high school students highlighting forest careers

IS WORKING AS A LOGGER FOR YOUR?: Logging Careers Broochure


The following profiles of people who work in Idaho's forests provide first-hand insights and links to information about the variety of employment opportunities in the forest sector. Check back to this page often as additional profiles are added over time.

State Forester
David Groeschl
Royce Cox - Creating a
forestry legacy
Unit Leader, Clearwater Paper
Chris Ferris

Jay Clark
Dillon Halvorsen

Richard Hansen
Erin Bradetich

Plant Manager
Shawn Hummer
Logging Contractors
Brown Brothers

Consulting Forester
Steve Bloedel

Watch Steve Bloedel Video
Idaho Logger
Ron Kuhlman

Watch Ron Kuhlman Video
UI Professor of Native Plant Regeneration
and Silviculture - Anthony Davis

Watch Anthony Davis Video
Extension Forester
Chris Schnepf
David Gabrielsen

Gabrielsen YouTube Video
Family Forest Landowners
Steve & Janet Funk

2011 National Tree Farmers of the Year
See the Funks - YouTube Video
Urban Forester
Karen Haskew
Environmental Educator
Jane Thornes
Private Forestry Specialist
Mary Fritz
Wood Recycling Manager
Reid Ahlf
Mark Mahon

Mahon Logging uses new technology
to take on unique jobs
Forests Entomologist
Carol Randall
U of I Forest Products Developer/Professor
Steve Shook
  GIS Forester
Vaiden Bloch
Forest Fire Manager U.S. Forest Service
Craig Glazier
The Forest Ranger
Cindy Lane
Blazing New Paths Through Research
Katy Kavanagh
Logging Equipment Sales
René van der Merwe
Wood Chemistry and Wood Composites
Professor Armando McDonald
Mill Manager
Shannon Fuchs
Logger and Reforestation Specialist
Bob Short
Equipment Operations Manager
Mickey Buell
Terry Cundy
  Residential Construction Teacher
Scott Larson

Watch Scott Larson Video
Kathy Mattson

Check back, we're adding more profiles!


The forest sector attracts people who thrive in a dynamic environment. While some jobs require teamwork, others operate independently. The workplace may be outdoors, in the forest, inside a piece of heavy equipment, in an office, a research lab, at a computer station or inside a manufacturing or distribution facility. No matter where they work, forest employees experience a sense of contribution and accomplishment.

Today's innovative forest sector stays on top of scientific discoveries and new technologies to compete in a highly competitive global marketplace. Ever advancing technology and innovation help men and women working in Idaho's forest businesses do things better, safer and in more comfortable settings than ever before. A mill worker or logger from the 1980's would not recognize much of the technology in use in modern forest and mill operations. And job opportunities continue to grow with the ongoing advent and incorporation new technologies.

People who work in the woods may spend much of their day operating complex controls at their own work station or in the cab of a logging machine. These might include on-board computers that provide information needed to maximize the value of every log. Forest and field technicians use a variety of technology to efficiently gather information and solve problems. At the sawmill, laser scanning and computer optimizing technology enables the operators to position logs for the most efficient cuts as they move through electronically-controlled saws.

Crews often depend on teamwork to ensure efficient operations and to address problems. They work together to improve safety, quality and production. Oftentimes operators and crews must learn a variety of jobs. In many forest and wood products manufacturing operations, it's common to change job sites and work assignments every month or two. Changing assignments gives workers an understanding of the whole process and the importance of each segment.

  • Learn about Jobs in Idaho ’s Forests
                a career lattice from the Idaho Department of labor:
  • Learn about the occupational outlook for Forest, Conservation and Logging workers
                from the Bureau of Labor Statistics at:
  • Learn more about jobs in various forest products businesses at:
  • Learn more about traditional and non-traditional careers in forest-related fields in Stewards of
                the Land by the Forest Foundation at:
  • Learn about forest-related careers in Mill and Manufacturing at:
  • Pulp and Paper: -- Imagine a place where there’s room
                for your ideas. Career opportunities in the pulp and paper industry.
  • Computer and Planning at:
  • Education and Recreation at:
  • Outdoors and Machinery Operation at:
  • Forestry at:
  • Science at:
  • Is Forestry for you?
                Learn more in a brochure by the Society of American Foresters at
  • University of Idaho Program and Student Careers
       There are many career opportunities in today's progressive forestry workforce

    - Learn about Jobs in Idaho ’s Forests -- a career lattice from the Idaho Department of labor

    - Jobs  (pdf 117kb)

    - Job Opportunities for High School Graduates  (pdf 59kb)

    - Job Opportunities for College Bound or College Graduates  (pdf 83kb)

    - Jobs - Timber & Forestry Industry  (pdf 123kb)


    The average annual salary for a job in Idaho's forest sector is $32,300 compared to the all-industry average of $23,500. What a person earns in a profession depends on:

    Education level - high school, associate, bachelor's, master's, doctorate. (Most entry requirements are a high school diploma or GED.)

    Location and setting of the work -- private sector, university or government agency as well as urban/rural geographical location

    Experience - years a person has worked, on the job training and range of activities

    Level of Job Responsibility - technician, supervisor, specialist, owner, etc.

    Performance and Reliability -- how well one performs in a job, strong reference from colleagues and supervisors, commitment to safety

    Salaries are usually lower at the beginning of one's career, but will likely increase over time with strong performance, training and experience. Some jobs offer production or safety bonuses, incentives and overtime.


    Private businesses harvest trees and manufacture wood and paper products.
    Companies with timberlands and tree farms
    Forest products manufacturers
    Timber investment firms
    Logging and forest operators
  • Wage and Employment Data for job Types in Idaho
  • Idaho Forest Businesses
  • Idaho Forest Business Directory
  • The Idaho Dept. of Labor with links to each local office throughout the state:
  • Job listings in Idaho State web-site:
  • Idaho Department of Labor - Job Search Options:
  • Idaho Department of Labor - Job Resources:
  • Current Listing of Jobs from the Dept. of Labor:
  • Job Service employment services:
  • Careers in Forestry and Natural Resources:
  • How to find a Forestry Job (About.Com)
  • Society of American Foresters Career Center:
  • Society of American Foresters Career Center Tools:
  • Associated Logging Contractors:
  • Intermountain Forest Association:
  • Forestry USA Careers and Employment:
  • Get Forestry Jobs:

    The federal government manages nearly 80% of Idaho's forestlands.

  • USDA Forest Service::
  • Federal Government Forestry Job Search:
  • Bureau of Land Management Careers:
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service:

    State, county and city land agencies and tribal governments also manage forest resources.

  • Idaho Department of Lands:
  • National Association of State Foresters:
  • Idaho Fish and Game:
  • Idaho Parks and Recreation:
  • City and county Natural Resource Departments:
  • Tribes:

    Forestry schools employ foresters and wood scientists as faculty members, researchers and managers of research forests.

  • University of Idaho: Training for careers in the forest products wood products industry,
              research and development, and outreach programs.
  • College of Natural Resources, U of I:
  • Center for International Forestry Research
  • Paper and Packaging Career Center:

    Idaho Forest Products Commission
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