Grays Harbor paper mill closes down for good

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The Aberdeen Daily World this month made it official: Harbor Paper is not going to reopen. The story of the Hoquiam, Wash., paper mill is long and its ending especially sad, given the importance of the mill to Grays Harbor County, where the mill had been one of the largest employers. Grays Harbor County has the third-highest unemployment rate in … Read More

Salvage logging is a different story on federal forestland

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Wildifires are tremendously destructive, with the largest fires burning miles and miles of forestland and sometimes property. For private forest owners, one of their priorities in the wake of the fires is to salvage whatever timber they can. Seattle’s Plum Creek Timber Co. is in the process now of salvaging what it can among thousands of acres of the company’s … Read More

Timber counties searching for an answer from Congress

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Northwest timber counties got some good news over the holidays when federal leaders announced that new federal timber subsidies won’t be subject to the budget cuts known as sequestration. But the counties’ financial situation is still dire. In Josephine County in Southwest Oregon, the local budget is so thin that sheriff’s deputies only respond to “life-threatening situations.” With so few … Read More

Wyden’s committee move could imperil Northwest timber reform

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U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden is an ace up the sleeve for timber issues in the Northwest. The Oregon Democrat took over as chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in January 2013, and since then, he’s championed timber reform. His proposal to increase the timber harvest in Oregon, released last month, may not be receiving widespread support from … Read More

How do we protect the future of family forests?

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One unavoidable truth in the timber business is that our country’s small forest landowners are getting older. According to the U.S. Forest Service, 20 percent of U.S. family forestland is owned by people 75 years and older. Another 30 percent of family forests are owned by people between 55 and 65. There is already a movement afoot to attract young … Read More

Impact of bark beetles is deeper than just dead trees

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The bark beetle epidemic that has spread across the West in the last 17 years is unmistakable. Forty-six million acres of forests in the U.S. have been affected. In British Columbia, 576,000 acre feet of trees have been killed, which is the same amount of timber that’s harvested over a normal 10-year period in B.C. But the impact of the … Read More

Forest collaborative comes to Olympic Peninsula

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Forest collaboratives – coalitions of timber and environmental interests, along with local, state and federal leaders – are all the rage right now. We’ve written about them here in the Northwest many times (like here and here), and while the projects have been far from perfect, they have undoubtedly been successful in at least getting all the parties at the … Read More

Sen. Ron Wyden unveils much-anticipated timber harvest plan

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After more than a year of anticipation, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., this week unveiled his plan to increase the federal timber harvest. His plan comes two months after the U.S. House approved a sweeping timber reform bill, sponsored by Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., called the Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act. As expected, Wyden’s bill does not increase the … Read More

Washington timber industry takes center stage

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The timber industry in Washington is a real newsmaker. The Longview Daily News reported earlier this month about Weyerhaeuser embarking on a local hiring boom, with timber leaders optimistic about the future. Nationwide housing starts are expected to hit 900,000 this year, nearly triple the 2008 low point during the recession, said Cindy Mitchell of the Washington Forest Protection Association, … Read More

Timber country is ready for a resurgence

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The plight of our country’s timber towns has been well documented here and elsewhere. But it’s a story that needs to keep being told because the livelihoods and futures of entire swaths of the American West are at stake. As we’ve noted in the past, finding a solution that improves these towns’ economies is not as simple as just magically … Read More