Indeed it is possible, and I have been privileged to know some good ones. As a matter of fact, I consider you to be one of those who can be both. Russ Richardson, Don Bertolette, Michele Wilson, Rex Baker, and Ehrhard Frost are other examples. Of course, there are the iconic figures like Aldo Leopold, William Arthur Ashe, and Richard St Barbe Baker who reached the pinnacle of conservation consciousness. Still others could be mentioned, but alas, in total, I fear the percentage will always be small.
According to accounts I have read, the industrial model of forestry replaced the custodial model as the need for wood skyrocketed in WW II, and forestry has never since regained its bearings. I'm sure many would dispute this depiction of the history of the profession, or at the least, point to some well-managed forested properties, private and public. You certainly have success stories to tell there. And I recently saw an impressive example of excellent forestry in Woodstock, VT - the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller NHP. But that property is about as far away from the industrial model as you can go and still call it forestry. I think the publicly unspoken, but conventional, message is that such a selective and light touch doesn't pay for itself in the short run - if at all.
I suppose the big question is whether or not forestry can provide good livings through long-term, sustainable forestry practices for its practitioners. I don't have the answer to that question. I know you have lots to say on the subject. I remember the discussions from NEFR when Karl Davies described paths to sustainable forestry and a decent living. Although those discussions were often heated, they did speak to the heart of the matter. I have been told by professionals (government and academic) that there is no path to the better life practicing ecologically balanced, sustainable forestry. According to those sources, you can never get ahead. If that is indeed true, then hope for real progress is illusory. We'll be subjected to the continuation of greenwash by timber companies and the organizational elements of the forestry establishment while witnessing our woodlands being perpetually over-cut except where subsidized. Depressing.
I am beginning to suspect that the belief of no profitable alternative to heavy cutting is deeply ingrained within the forestry profession. Come to think of it, that maybe the explanation for why there is so little apparent curiosity about places like MTSF among the professionals here in Massachusetts. Mohawk must bear little resemblance to anything they consider to be economically viable. So, they have no interest in even visiting the place. The extremely low number who do visit that exceptional forest probably do so because they are interested in big/tall trees as a separate focus. Nothing says that loggers and foresters can't be dedicated to forest management while simultaneously wanting to retain some unmanaged woodlands or simple entertaining a fascination for big trees. I hold you out as an example as well as those mentioned above.