DNR: Timber volume projected to increase for Jefferson in 2019

Net value forecast at $2.65 million

PORT TOWNSEND — The state Department of Natural Resources timber volume projections for 2019 shows the largest increase is slated for Jefferson County.

A volume of 9.61 million board feet and net value of timber under contract for 2019 in Jefferson County is projected at $2.65 million.

Mona Griswold, DNR regional manager and Drew Rosanbalm, DNR state lands assistant, presented revenue projections and a review of potential harvest sales during the Jefferson County commissioners meeting Monday.

Revenues to the county from state forest land transfers and purchases was $1.25 million for January through September from a total of $47.74 million for all lands statewide. Projected revenues October through December are $2.86 million. Revenue projections for 2019 are around $4 million.

Rosanbalm told the commissioners that there is projected to be an influx of private wood going to mills and that could affect prices next year.

He said that alder wood is a surprise source of revenue.

“Alder is still good, but Douglas fir has trended downward almost $100,000 in the last two months,” Rosanbalm said. “Alder is a funny market and mills have been pushing us hard for it.

“Alder is a small market niche. We can go out on roadsides and cut it. It is decent stuff and we can sell it. If it’s too small, it will go to firewood. It is less than $5,000, but we don’t have to pay out in road maintenance. It’s helping the mills stay alive.”

County Administrator Philip Morley said there are a few trends he sees that might affect the projection of prices.

“One is tariffs that will come into effect. That reduces the amount of private timber that goes to the export markets. That is available for local mills and competes with DNR land and that depresses the price.

“Secondly, interest rates are starting to trend upward and that could have a chilling effect on housing starts.

“Thirdly, there is a growing sense that the markets are beginning to set up for a future recession.

“And, finally, the California fires and building from that may strengthen the market.”

Rosanbalm agreed.

“There may be a building spurt down there,” he said. “It might strengthen the market again. It’s trending downward this time of year, but I’m not seeing it going up yet. First quarter of 2019 is when I get my best prices. “

Griswold said steel prices are trending up.

“That might help prices and more building with wood, and that may have an impact,” she said.

“Cross-laminated timber is a new technology,” Rosanbalm said. “You don’t need quality wood, and if that took off it might raise the price of quality wood and change the market. A lot of people are excited about it. It’s been slow, but it might have an impact in a couple years. Some of the problems have to do with building codes.”

Kler noted engineering stress tests have shown cross-laminated lumber is comparable or has better test results than steel.

“So if steel is going to have a price problem, it’s time for cross-laminated,” she said.


Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at jmcmacken@peninsuladailynews.com.

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