Natural Resources to maintain increased timber harvest levels, foresters told

By Brian Gawley, Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES The state Department of Natural Resources will sell 104 million board feet of timber in Clallam, Jefferson and a portion of Grays Harbor counties in fiscal year 2008, said the state lands manager on Thursday.

"Our income will be $20 million in fiscal year 2008 [ending June 30]," said Al Vaughan.

Vaughan spoke to a joint meeting of the North Olympic Timber Action Committee and the North Olympic chapter of the Society of American Foresters held at Port of Port Angeles headquarters, 338 W. First St.

The sales will exceed the goal, Vaughn said.

"My goal was 100 million."

And it will be the first time since 1990 that DNR annual timber sales have hit 100 million board feet, he added.

In 2009, DNR is projecting timber sales of 110 million board feet and income of $22 million, although those sales have yet to be prepared, he said.

"The goal's going to hold. It's 110 million board feet," Vaughan said.

Forks sales
He also told the group of about 25 timber industry members that, beginning Jan. 30, DNR will conduct timber sales from its Forks office for the first time since 2001.

Right now DNR's Olympic Region timber sales are handled through the agency's office in Enumclaw southeast of Seattle.

The 2007 sales goal was 74 million board feet and DNR hit 68 million board feet, he said.

The 2006 sales goal was 80 million board feet but DNR sold only 21 million board feet as the agency complied with settlement terms of a lawsuit filed by the Washington Environmental Council and Olympic Forest Coalition, Vaughan said.

The goal of 110 million board feet for 2009 is specific to the Olympic Region which includes Clallam and Jefferson counties and isn't affected by what happens in DNR's other regions, he said.

DNR manages 1.4 million acres of timber trust land in Western Washington and 2.1 million acres statewide.

Clallam County has 92,000 acres of timber trust lands, the most of any county in the state.

Jefferson County has 13,600 acres.

Board feet and jobs
A formula developed by University of Washington professor Bruce Lippke calculates that every 1 million board feet of timber harvested generates eight to 13 jobs, with 60 percent of those staying within 60 miles of the harvest.

So using the conservative figure of eight jobs per 1 million board feet, the planned 110 million board feet harvest would mean 880 timber industry jobs.

Vaughan said the $20 million from the 2008 timber sales is down from $30 million the prior year, thanks to the nationwide housing slump.

The sales that begin Jan. 30 will reflect the housing market downturn because of new appraisals done by DNR according to state law, he said.

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Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached at 360-417-3532 or brian.gawley@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: January 17. 2008 9:00PM
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