As Parker’s career progressed, his achievements mounted. In 1964, he worked as the Troy area forester; he became a certified siviculturist; joined the Society of American Foresters, and was awarded forester of the year in 1977; and along the way, received his Doctorate in Forestry. In 1986 he and Lera started Raintree Nursery and ran that operation until 1999. In that time frame, they grew a record 1.3 million seedlings for reforestation. In Sept. 1993, Mel was quoted as saying
“Let each acre of land with it’s given resources and physical attributes contribute to a balanced environment which makes this world a productive place to live.” Parker continued to work in the field of forestry for many years. He mentored many younger foresters, and focused on his family.
The last stanza of the poem for foresters reads, “Then God said, And last and most important of all, I need a father and a teacher with integrity who will serve as a model of how to be a man and won’t discourage the next generation from follow-ing in his footsteps, because I will always need real conservationists and stewards of my forest.” Mr. Mel Parker recently passed away. At a small gathering on May 3, 2019, Lera passed out copies of the foresters poem. After the last stanza, was added “So God made Mel.”
At this gathering, Lera announced that as a tribute to Mel, she was having local consummate chain saw carving artist, Ron Adamson do a woodcraft carving of a 13 foot tall, 30 inch diameter Ponderosa pine in her back yard. The well known artist and avid community support advocate will be carving a facsimile of her forester husband, complete with old style hard hat and timber cruisers vest that will face the old Libby sawmill. Adamson is the initiator of the Ron Adamson’s Libby Chainsaw Event, occurring this year on July 4. Adamson’s artwork totals over 10,000 pieces distributed on every continent in the world except Antarctica.
When asked what made this project special Adamson said, “The challenge. The tree has lived its life. Now it is virtually waiting to be changed into something historic. It will bring memories to many people who have resided for years in Libby. And, it may arouse curiosity to those who are too young to remember the lumber industry that existed in Lincoln County. It is a rare privilege for an artist to commemorate a piece of history that he grew up in.”
Lera Parker said the carving makes her happy because it’s, “a tribute to Mel, a wonderful man, a good all around Christian person.” In dedicating this artwork to Mel, Lera and Ron Adamson are also dedicating it to all the foresters and loggers who have ever had the privilege to work in the beautiful and magical forests of Kootenai Country.