The World Logging Championships will be held in Estonia again after 16 years, from 19 to 22 April. It is a major event of the forestry sector, and a country does not get to host it often. Furthermore, the opportunity is not offered to any country. What is needed to organise the biennial competitions is a long-term forestry tradition, an interest in the competitions and, naturally, an organisation that runs the competitions to a high standard.
When Estonia was offered in spring 2022 the chance to organise the world championships, there was not much time to decide, it was a matter of weeks rather than months. Chief organiser Mart Kelk said that the successfully organised logging championships held in Otepää in 2006 are still well remembered. “The International Association for Logging Championships is convinced that Estonia is an excellent place for organising the world championships and that it would be really cool to return here,” said Kelk.
Tartu was chosen as the city where the competitions will be held, and the competition venue will be in the campus of the Estonian University of Life Sciences. “If the competitions are to be held in Tartu, it is impossible to envisage a better venue than the green area and exhibition centre adjacent to the University of Life Sciences (EULS). It was quite easy to choose the time frame: spring is an active period in forestry. Moreover, for years already, the Estonian forestry sector has gathered during the Rural Fair to Tartu to the vision conference, the fair, the alumni reunion, and various forestry events. All the forestry events in Tartu make up a kind of a Forest Week, which this year will be crowned by the major international competition,” Kelk pointed out the various factors that made them choose Tartu.
Representatives of the International Association for Logging Championships visited Estonia last autumn and familiarised themselves with the conditions and the planned competition venue. They were satisfied with the plans for organising the event. The compact competition venue and its proximity to the city centre and hotels received the most positive feedback. No less important was the fact that the region's largest rural and forestry fair is held at the same time as the championships, further increasing the number of spectators. As a cross-sectoral event, it is a major joint effort of many organisations and stakeholders. The Estonian Forest Society’s largest partners are Luua Forestry School, EULS, State Forest Management Centre, Environmental Investment Centre, Tartu Näitused, and the city of Tartu as the host.
Logging competitions have been held as part of the Rural Fair for more than 20 years already. This year’s world championships are also closely connected with the fair, as the felling competition and the team competition are held at the show arena of Rural Fair. The competition centre and the main arena of the championships, and the technical and contestants’ areas are in the car park and the green area of the EULS forest building. The competition venue also features the Expo, where sponsors and partners will showcase their products and services. Typically to the competitions, the audience can try out the state-of-the-art forestry equipment and attend product presentations.
Nearly 300 competitors and foreign guests are expected to attend the competitions, and during their week in Estonia they will be able to get to know Estonia’s cultural history, forestry and, of course, the buzz of the university city. “An important part of the World Logging Championships is introducing the local culture and forestry. The State Forest Management Centre will take contestants and guests to the hiking trails of Kiidjärve and Taevaskoja for a walk in the forest. The guests can also visit the Barge Hall, see how barges are built, and go for a barge sailing trip on the river. In addition, tours are organised to the long-established Tarmeko furniture factory and the Gren cogeneration plant. And, naturally, to the Estonian National Museum, Tartu City Museum and A. Le Coq Beer Museum,” the visitor programme manager Eve Rebane introduced the activities.
The Japanese team will travel the longest way to the championships in Tartu. Our closest teams are from the neighbouring Finland and Latvia. The list of participants is varied, but as can be expected, mainly representing the most forest-rich countries with long-standing traditions in forestry, professional skills, and competitions.
The opening of the championships takes place on 19 April in Tartu Town Hall Square with a procession and show. The competitions start on the morning of 20 April at the show arena of the Rural Fair and the main arena of the competition venue in the campus of the Estonian University of Life Sciences. See you at the start!