Ron Sheay (in 2004)

Ronald J. Sheay

Ron Sheay graduated from the University of Maine’s forestry program in 1955.  He joined the Society of American Foresters in 1956.  Following military service and other employment, he began his career in the NJ Forest Service in 1960.  For the next ten years, he served as an outreach forester, assisting private forest landowners in the development of plans, and executing sustainable forestry practices on their land.  He also assisted in the NJ Forest Fire Service’s controlled burn program.  In 1966, he served as vice chairman of the NJ Division of the Allegheny SAF, and served as chairman in 1967.  In 1970, he was promoted to supervisor of the cooperative forest management program.

In the early 1970’s Ron began organizing private forest landowners and foresters in support of developing an association to advance the interests of private forest landowners.  In 1975, the NJ Forestry Association was established, with Ron as a founding director.  He would as serve as director from 1975 until 2013 (excepting about 3 years).  For much of the first 25 years, he also served as its secretary.

From 1974 through 1978, he served as the secretary-treasurer of Allegheny SAF. In 1979-80, Ron served as vice chairman of the Allegheny SAF.  From 1981-82, Ron served as the chairman of the Allegheny SAF.  During his tenure as chairman, Allegheny SAF operated with a published operations manual that included contact information for all leadership, a calendar, charges for all committees, and governing documents. Allegheny SAF operated with various subcommittees staffed by volunteer foresters.  From 1982-88 and 2002-04, Ron served on the Allegheny SAF educational endowment committee, raising over $33,000 for the support of educational programming within the five-state area.

Before 1979, Ron began serving on the NJ Division of Taxation’s Farmland Assessment Advisory Committee.  At that time woodlands could qualify for reduced property tax assessment under the Farmland Assessment Act of 1964, however many of the tax assessors of the 367 municipalities within the state used different standards to determine compliance for woodlands under the Act.  Ron, along with Les Alpaugh, drafted a report highlighting important considerations for determining compliance for woodlands under Farmland Assessment.  This report was distributed to many of the tax assessors of rural municipalities through various meetings.  Legislation was drafted at the request of the municipal tax assessors based on that report, and that amendment to the Farmland Assessment Act was signed into law by Gov. Tom Kean on December 30, 1986.  The cornerstone of the “woodlands amendment” was the necessity of both a written forest management plan and active management of the woodlot in accordance with that plan.

Following the amendment’s passage, Ron was tasked with developing the regulations that would implement the law.  Those regulations went into effect for the calendar year 1989.  As of November of 2014, those regulations have only had minor revisions based on further amendments to the Act, and associated case law.

He retired from the NJ Forest Service in 1990. In 1991, he was awarded the title of Fellow of the Society of American Foresters.  During the early 1990’s, he served a 3-year term on the National Committee on Accreditation.  Following that term, he served on the National Committee on Professional Recognition for 3 years, including one year as chair (1996).  In 1997, Ron organized a Forest History committee in Allegheny SAF to update its published history in advance of its 75th anniversary.  That published booklet incorporated the history written for its 50th anniversary, as well as updates over a 25-year period and histories of the various divisions and chapters.

In 1998, he was presented the Silas Little Award from the New Jersey Division of the Allegheny SAF in recognition of his outstanding service to the division.  In 2016, we was presented the Robert Bauer Outstanding Service to Forestry award by the Allegheny SAF.  He continues to serve as assistant newsletter editor as of March of 2016.