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Behind the Scenes


Cecil Wetsel
President, Wetsel-Oviatt Lumber

Profile produced by Pat McConahay


For Cecil Wetsel every day is literally a walk in the woods. That's because the towering trees are his, part of an 18,000-acre spread in El Dorado and Amador counties. He's the roll-up your sleeves president of one of the last small timber companies in California -- one that stands out for its unique ability to balance profit and preservation.

Wetsel-Oviatt was founded by Cecil's father, Cecil Senior, and partner Glenn Oviatt in 1939. Like his dad, Cecil, Jr. is holding his own in the face of mounting timber regulations and pressure from environmental interests.

Spend time with Wetsel, and it's clear he sees himself as a stweard of the land -- and that sense of stewardship is a key reason Wetsel was the first timberman named Agriculturalist of the Year, an award bestowed upon him in 2002 by the California State Fair Board of Directors. In Wetsel's own words: "You cannot be a true agriculturalist without caring as much for the land as you do for the crops that you produce."

For every tree Wetsel harvests he plants 12 new ones. That's more than the required seven. And he dotes on every young tree by clearing away unwanted brush to make sure they have room to grow and flourish. The care Wetsel takes in the forest also finds expression in the way he handles the logs that come into his sawmill east of Sacramento. Wetsel-Oviatt is a small, efficient operation that produces enough lumber each year for two thousand homes.

Cecil Wetzel is a timber operator for the new millennium, carefully managing his forests for generations to come.


The complete text of New Valley Episode 110 -- Movers & Shakers...


Presentation also made possible by a grant from
the Great Valley Center


New Valley Official Site