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Michigan Timber Industry Unites to Honor Master Logger Jeff Zellar by Raising Funds to Find a Cure for ALS

Gulliver, Michigan In a display of solidarity and support, the Michigan Association of Timbermen (MAT) has coordinated an initiative with financial support from the Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association and the Michigan Master Logger Certification Program, to raise awareness and funds for ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). The project honors Michigan Master Logger Jeff Zellar of Gulliver, Michigan, who has been diagnosed with ALS. This collaborative effort involved all three organizations jointly financing the installation of a billboard along Highway 2, just east of Gulliver in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

ALS, often referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, leading to the deterioration of muscle control and movement. It's a cause that hits close to home for the timber industry. When Jeff Zellar, owner of Bear Creek Logging and a respected figure within the forest products community, was diagnosed with ALS, it prompted his colleagues and peers to rally together in support.

The billboard stands not only as a symbol of solidarity amongst loggers across Michigan, but also as a beacon of hope and awareness for ALS, a disease that affects thousands of individuals across Michigan and worldwide. Its strategic location along Highway 2 ensures maximum visibility, serving as a reminder of the ongoing battle against ALS and the strength found in unity.

The decision to fund the billboard came after Jeff Zellar spoke with a Michigan Association of Timbermen board member earlier this spring. He offered his Bear Creek Logging business billboard frame up for use, since he was forced to sell his business due to the debilitating effects of ALS. Jeff’s wish is to simply use the billboard that he owns to raise awareness and donations to find a cure someday.

Photo of Jeff standing next to an old-growth tree

Jeff Zellar and his team at Bear Creek Logging always focused on excellence. Whether Jeff was developing a plan for land management or harvesting timber, he always remained dedicated to the needs and requests of the landowner. Professionalism and excellence were the cornerstones of his business, which is one of the reasons he was a passionate supporter of the Michigan Master Logger Certification program (

Jeff and his wife Linda Zellar both grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where they raised their two daughters, Stephanie and Brittany. Jeff and Linda always loved nature and being outside, which lent itself to the passion they had for helping landowners maximize the benefits of their property through

timber harvesting and effective management planning.

Jeff Zellar with daughters Brittany and Stephanie, and wife Linda

The Michigan Association of Timbermen and its Master Logger Certification program, as well as the Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association know that this billboard project is the least our respective organizations can do to honor Jeff and his family as he continues to suffer from ALS. We understand the importance of honoring Jeff Zellar's legacy while also shedding light on a cause that desperately needs attention and support.

Our organizations hope that his billboard will continue to serve as a fundraising tool for years to come, with proceeds going towards ALS research and support services. By leveraging our collective resources and influence, the timber industry in Michigan is making a tangible difference in the fight against ALS, offering hope to those affected by the disease and their families.

Please consider donating today by visiting

By Justin Knepper, Executive Director, Michigan Association of Timbermen

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