Woodchipping operation supplying Boise's Wallula, Washington, paper mill starts at former Stimson Lumber mill site in Bonner, Montana; Boise in negotiations with new owners to install permanent chipper

LOS ANGELES , March 20, 2012 () – A chipping operation has started up on a sawmill site in Bonner, Montana, formerly operated by Stimson Lumber Co., the Missoulian reported on March 19.

About 85,000 tons of logs have been delivered to the site since Mike Boehme and Steve Nelson bought the property from Stimson Lumber in December.

The start of chipping has returned a rail service to Bonner, as the chips will be hauled in railcars by Montana Rail Link to a paper mill in Wallula, Washington, operated by Boise Inc.

Boehme and Nelson have formed Bonner Property to run the site, a subsidiary of Western Montana Development. They plan to convert the site to mixed use with multiple tenants, but have pledged to return timber industry-related activity to Bonner.

In the build-up to the return of the town's rail service, logging trucks delivered logs to the site for chipping as part of a deal between Willis Enterprises and Boise Inc. Willis Enterprises has leased about one-fifth of the acreage to the chipping operation.

Lewis said the volume of logs collected would fill about 650 rail cars with chips. Chipping had been scheduled to start in January, but the operation had to wait for a Missoula County air quality permit.

Boise plans to add a permanent chipper there at the site and is working on a contract with Willis.

The primary source of this article is the Missoulian, Missoula, Montana, on March 19, 2012.

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