In The News

OESF Land Plan Signed

On September 23, Kyle Blum, deputy supervisor for Uplands, signed the Washington Department of Natural Resources’ Forest Land Plan for the Olympic Experimental State Forest (OESF).

The OESF provides foresters and managers practical information to implement DNR policies on a day-to-day basis. These policies include the State Trust Lands Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and the Policy for Sustainable Forests. Objectives of the OESF include:

  • Generate a sustainable flow of revenue through the sale of timber. The current (2004-2014) sustainable harvest level for the OESF is 576 million board feet per decade, as approved by the Board of Natural Resources in 2007. By harvesting timber, DNR provides revenue to its trust beneficiaries to meet its fiduciary obligations (DNR 2006).
  • Implement the riparian conservation strategy for the OESF. The goal of the riparian conservation strategy is to restore and maintain functioning riparian habitat (DNR 1997) to support salmonids and other wildlife species that are dependent on in-stream and riparian environments.
  • Implement the northern spotted owl conservation strategy for the OESF. The goal of this strategy is to restore and maintain northern spotted owl habitat in each of the 11 landscapes in the OESF to provide support for the recovery of the Olympic Peninsula subpopulation of northern spotted owls on adjacent federal lands (DNR 1997).

For the full plan, visit

Two Candidates vying to oversee Washington’s Department of Natural Resources

The Washington Commissioner of Public Lands is responsible for overseeing the Department of Natural Resources, an agency that manages 5.6 million acres of state land, in addition to Washington’s largest firefighting operation.

Two candidates are vying for that position this year—Steve McLaughlin and Hilary Franz.

The Inlander reports that Franz, a Democrat and former executive director of the Seattle-based land-use advocacy group Futurewise, mentions that she owns a small farm in Pierce County, and when asked about claims that she wants to “lock up” forests from logging and other uses, she lets out an emphatic “Nooooooo.”

Steve McLaughlin, a Republican and retired Navy commander, highlights how he helped preserve an old-growth forest near Arlington, Washington, and that he is a member of REI.

“It is my sense that we’ve taken too much [DNR land] out of production, and that some of it can be brought into production without any effect on endangered species or water quality,” says McLaughlin.

Orofino Mill closes

Tri-Pro will be closing its mill in Orofino, Idaho. In a press release, Steve Linton, owner and president of Tri-Pro Forest Products, wrote, “It is with deep regret that we officially announce the closure of the Tri-Pro Forest Products Inc. – Orofino division. The lack of a consistent, economical log supply has made continued operations here impractical.

“It has been difficult this year to keep the plant running, and from this point forward, the log supply will only become worse. We sincerely regret this outcome and are solemnly aware of the impact the plant closure will have on families and the community as a whole.”

He added, “Since its inception here in 2007, Tri-Pro has enjoyed a wonderful team and together we have reached major milestones. We have always strived to be an asset to the area and a good neighbor to the people and the community of Orofino.”

DNR Revenue Forecast – September 2016

Lumber and Log Prices. Lumber and log prices have fallen markedly since peaking in 2014. Random Lengths’ Coast Dry Random and Stud composite lumber price peaked at $393/mbf in January 2014 but fell throughout the rest of the year to average $373/mbf. The composite lumber price continued to fall to an average $311/mbf for 2015. Prices have averaged $326/mbf from January to July 2016, with the last four months averaging $341/mbf. 

The increase in prices in 2016 appears to have been initially driven by much higher first quarter housing starts compared to 2015. This spiked lumber demand and caught lumber dealers off guard. Prices were expected to pull back in the third quarter, but as of July, this had not happened. Prices are expected to fall in the fourth quarter before increasing again in the beginning of 2017. 

The decline in 2015 was primarily due to the dramatic slowdown in demand from China and an ample regional supply of both logs and lumber. Log prices are expected to remain flat through 2016 and begin increasing in 2017 with an increase in lumber demand.

 Timber Sales Volume. In the February 2016 forecast, fire salvage sales from the record 2015 fire season were added to the timber sales volume forecast for FY16, bringing it to 515 mmbf from 500mmbf. Six mmbf failed to sell, resulting in total volume sales for the year of 545 mmbf. 

Given current timber sales plans (and absent a new sustainable harvest calculation) sales volumes are still pegged at 500 mmbf in FY17 and beyond. 

Timber Sales Prices. Even after lowering the price forecast from $340/mbf to $310/mbf in February and again down to $290/mbf in the June forecast, our forecast prices were too high. Prices for FY16 average $285/mbf because of the large volume of low value fire-salvage sales and the mix of the green-wood timber sales. 

External analysts expect flat stumpage prices through the remainder of 2016 and higher prices beginning in 2017.

Bottom Line for Timber Revenue. Timber revenue in FY16 was up by one percent from the June forecast to $166.3 million. 

(Full forecast available online.) 


TimberWest November/December 2013
September-October 2016

On the Cover
Cover photo taken by Andrea Watt of RCD
lumber’s operation and Doosan DX225LL

Homegrown Success
RCD Timber is a young company succeeding in a competitive market

Boldly Stepping Into the Future
A-1 Logging transforms itself

Collision of Champions
2016 Lumberjack World Championships

Field Test
Gwin & Sons Logging runs new Cat through its paces

Tech Review
A review of winch-assist machines

New at DEMO International 2016
A look at some of the innovative equipment that debuted at DEMO International 2016.

Guest Column
Forestry issues hinge on November election


In the News

Firebreak Column

Association News

Machinery Row

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