State planning a ‘milestone’ timber harvest

The state Department of Natural Resources plans a milestone harvest of more than 100 million board feet of timber on the Olympic Peninsula – including Clallam and Jefferson counties – during the next fiscal year, beginning in July.

“Heck, we haven’t cut 100 million board feet since 1988, and that was the year the spotted owl was listed,” said Al Vaughan, assistant regional manager for DNR’s Olympic region.

The plans are for selling between 110 million and 115 million board feet from state forest lands in Clallam, Jefferson, Gray’s Harbor and part of Mason counties.

The state lands cover 100,000 acres in Clallam County and 25,000 acres in Jefferson county.

In Clallam County, an estimated 62.2 million board feet could be sold, worth about $13.6 million.

In Jefferson County, an estimated 46.4 million board-feet could be sold, worth about $10 million.

The final amount depends on whether DNR can prepare the sales on schedule, Vaughan said.

Increased harvests could mean more jobs and more money for Clallam and Jefferson county coffers.

But those in the timber industry say they are taking a wait-and-see attitude.

“I don’t think folks want to get too excited yet, because we don’t know what will happen,” said Rod Fleck, attorney for the city of Forks, which gave input into DNR’s timber harvest calculations.

Some timber harvests may be close to homes that have been built on the Olympic mountain foothills, Vaughan said, but residents within one-fourth mile of a timber sale would be notified in advance.

New sustainable harvesting calculations have made it possible to harvest the wood, which is enough to frame more than 33,000 small homes.

The projection is more than a 33 percent increase over logging in recent years, when harvests hovered around 75 million board feet annually, said Vaughan.

“It took time for us to understand the social and political implications that we have to manage along with the actual forest,” he said.

“It took awhile for all sides to agree what sustainability is.”

The spotted owl was listed as a threatened species in June 1990.

State harvests dropped after the owl was listed, then slowly recovered through the 1990s as the agency proposed, implemented and changed ways to protect the spotted owl’s habitat.

With the new sustainable harvesting guidelines, Vaughan expects the buoyed level to stay above 100 million board feet through 2014.

More in News

Wind returns for Day 3 of Race to Alaska

Teams pushing north along Vancouver Island

Port Townsend pool on track to open in July

Task force favors Chimacum Park for replacement

‘Positive support’ shown for Recompete grant

Port of PA extends lease with Homeland Security

Jason Minnoch, left, and Jim deBord move a set of musical chimes as Al Oman and Jo Johnston look on during preparations on Wednesday for Sunday’s playground opening of the Dream Playground at Erickson Playfield in Port Angeles. The playground, rebuilt by volunteers in May after much of it was destroyed by arson in December, will host an official reopening and dedication ceremony at 3 p.m. Sunday. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Reopening ceremony Sunday

Jason Minnoch, left, and Jim deBord move a set of musical chimes… Continue reading

Port Townsend, YMCA sued over 2022 pool ban

Confrontation with transgender employee at center of lawsuit

More muscle than wind in Phase 2 of Race to Alaska

Winds die down, force sailors to alternate with human power

Chris Fidler.
Port Angeles man honored with Distinguished Alumni award

Chris Fidler of Port Angeles has received the Distinguished Alumni… Continue reading

Members of the Makah Tribe bring a gray whale to shore on May 18, 1999. A federal ruling Thursday will allow the tribe to take 25 whales in a 10-year period. (Peninsula Daily News file)
Makah Tribe granted waiver to hunt gray whales

Ruling to allow tribe 25 in 10-year period

Team Roscoe Pickle Train of Port Townsend, which includes Chris Iruz, Enzo Dougherty, Odin Smith and Pearl Smith, were first out of the Victoria Inner Harbour at the start of the Race to Alaska on Tuesday. The cannon fired at noon and 38 racers headed to Ketchikan, a 750-mile contest that started in Port Townsend on Sunday. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Racers restart in Victoria on their way to Alaska

One rescued by Coast Guard; two others try wheeling over land

Sequim city council members approved a $2.45 million purchase of 16.52 acres off West Hendrickson Road to be used for a future park. It remains closed to the public as it’s being leased for agricultural use until plans and funding can be put in place for the future park. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Sequim purchases 16 acres for park

City negotiated with McCord family for 2 years

Clallam sheriff pursuing $9.6M grant for public safety facility

Defense program geared to supporting military installations