Seattle-Snohomish Mill submits highest bids for two timber, biomass sales in Washington's Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest; 382-acre Jung Way sale is expected to yield 5.4 mmbf of timber, Walter Springs sale includes 3.5 mmbf of timber

CLE ELUM, Washington , September 23, 2013 (press release) – U.S. Forest Service officials accepted oral and sealed bids last week for two timber sale auctions that will lead to timber harvests on 897 acres, and create landscape-scale fuel breaks to help stop the spread of wildland fires and restore forest health on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.

The Seattle-Snohomish Mill Company was the apparent high bidder on September 19 for the 382-acre Jung Way Timber Sale, located on the Cle Elum Ranger District about 10 miles north of Cle Elum near Jungle Creek, a tributary of the North Fork Teanaway River. The timber will be hauled about 130 miles to the company’s Snohomish mill to be processed.

The Jung Way Timber Sale mostly includes Douglas and grand fir trees. There is also a small amount of Ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine and western white pine. It is estimated to contain about 5.4 million board feet (mmbf) of timber and includes 262 hundred cubic feet (ccf) of forest biomass material.

The Jung Way Project is intended to help stop the spread of fires to nearby communities and private timber land by reducing forest fuels. The project calls for the largest, most fire-resistant trees to be left on the landscape. Areas of thick undergrowth and overstocked stands of trees in excess of wildlife needs are to be thinned through timber harvests and controlled burns to help reduce fire danger.

Okanogan-Wenatchee N.F. managers also believe the Jung Way Project will provide commercial wood products, while diversifying tree species composition across the landscape, and lessening the chance of western pine beetle and spruce budworm outbreaks.

Timber removal in the sale area will be completed primarily through skyline yarding. Some ground-based equipment will also be used to extract timber. The timber sale purchaser is expected to fund road construction or reconstruction for routes used to haul timber from the sale area.

The Seattle-Snohomish Mill Company was also the apparent high bidder on September 19 for the 497-acre Walter Springs Timber Sale, located on the Cle Elum Ranger District in the South Fork Manastash Creek drainage nine miles south of Cle Elum. The company will haul the timber to its Snohomish mill.

The Walter Springs Timber Sale includes about 3.5 million board feet (mmbf) of timber from western larch, Douglas and grand fir, and other coniferous tree species. The timber sale includes about 591 hundred cubic feet (ccf) of forest biomass material.

Decades of fire suppression have altered landscape-level forest fuels conditions, and changed the structure and composition of the 1,549-acre Walter Springs Project area. Okanogan-Wenatchee N.F. managers believe a more diverse mix of vegetative conditions can reduce the risk of uncharacteristically-severe fires, while improving overall forest health.

The Walter Springs Project is also intended to reduce conifer tree encroachment on aging aspen tree stands above South Fork Manastash Creek. User-built and illegal off-road use are also damaging soils in the seasonally-wet meadow below Walter Springs and impeding its hydrologic functions so the project includes obliterating five user-built roads, totaling about one mile.

Fire specialists also plan to conduct prescribed burns on about 900 acres outside of timber harvest areas to reduce forest fuels and promote forest health.
Most timber extraction in the Walter Springs Timber Sale area will be through ground-based logging systems, with skyline logging systems being used on steeper slopes.

Timber value is determined in a manner similar to home appraisals. U.S. Forest Service personnel develop an advertised rate for the timber sale based upon similar sales sold the past 12 months on Eastern Washington national forests. The advertised rate contains adjustments for sale area conditions such as tree size, terrain, timber volume per acre, distance to nearest mill and logging systems to be used.

Annual Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest timber harvests from 2000 to 2012 have ranged between 35 and 50 million board feet.

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