US Forest Service Wrangell Ranger District in Alaska awards first of three small timber sales on Wrangell, Zarembo Islands intended to support local small mill operators, wood-related businesses


The Wrangell Ranger District has awarded the first three small timber sales through a new program intended to support smaller mill operators and other wood-­‐related businesses in Wrangell. The Roadside Timber Sale Program, authorized in November 2010, provides businesses with commercial salvage harvest of dead, dying, or blown down fuelwood and sawtimber resulting from natural disturbance, and the minor harvest of green fuelwood and green sawtimber. The program allows up to 500 MBF* of timber per year for offer as small-­‐scale commercial firewood sales, salvage sales, and sawtimber sales along the existing road systems on Etolin, Wrangell, and Zarembo Islands. Individual green timber sales would be limited to 50 MBF per year.

“This program is a great way to meet the needs of existing and future small local mill operators, music wood suppliers, and other value-­added wood products businesses,” said Jeremy Maxand, community organizer with the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council. “Operators can walk into the woods, select trees, and then competitively bid on the timber, which is economical because it’s on the existing road system.”

A similar microsale program was successfully initiated on Prince of Wales Island in 2000 and between 2000 and 2005 more than 100 timber sales were offered to at least 30 operators on POW. These microsale programs are consistent with the Forest Service’s Tongass Transition Framework that includes smaller scale old-­‐growth logging to support value added wood products industries.

Scott Arrington, owner and operator of Custom Cut, LLC, recently moved his business to Wrangell because of the positive business environment and proposed the three microsales on Wrangell Island.

Forest Service staff gave the three sales music-­‐related names: Alto, Cello, and Fiddle. The sales all consist of Sitka Spruce and include 2 MBF, 4 MBF, and 8 MBF of timber respectively.

“I cut music wood and this program is a great way to keep the type of wood I need flowing when I need it,” said Arrington. “This type of program on the forest will meet the needs of businesses like mine and I’m already looking to propose a much larger sale for next year.”

The Alto sale, the first sealed bid sale opened, was awarded to Jim Colier, a small mill operator on Wrangell Island that has cut specialty wood products for the last 11 years.

“I’ve bought wood from the Forest Service before, but this is the first sale I’ve actually bid on,” said Colier. “Usually the Forest Service puts out sales that are too big for the little guy and much of the wood goes somewhere else or we end up dependent on larger operators, so this new program should work out just right.”

The Forest Service is in the process of developing a large pool of timber on Wrangell Island. Some are concerned this larger project will incorporate all the available roadside timber currently accessible through the Roadside Timber Program, significantly reducing potential microsales on Wrangell Island in the future.

“We are going to encourage the Forest Service to maintain the roadside timber program as they develop the Wrangell Island Project,” said Maxand. “We believe that processing as much of the wood on Wrangell Island locally over a longer period of time is in the local economy’s best interest, and maintaining and growing the microsale program will play a crucial role in accomplishing this.”

Information on the Roadside Timber Sale Program can be found at:

*MBF = Symbol for one thousand board feet of lumber. One MBF equals 83.33 cubic feet or 2.36 cubic meters.

Founded in 1970, SEACC has members all across Southeast Alaska, from Craig on Prince of Wales Island to Yakutat. SEACC’s individual members include commercial fishermen, Native Alaskans, small timber operators and value-­added wood manufacturers, tourism and recreation business owners, hunters and guides, and Alaskans from all walks of life. SEACC is dedicated to preserving the integrity of Southeast Alaska’s unsurpassed natural environment while providing for balanced, sustainable use of our region’s resources.

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