[11/3/21] Forest Campus Sources And Costs

Posted in Business & Economy, Environment, Local Government & Meetings

Chelan County is exploring what it would take to bring a sawmill, or forest products campus, to the area. The county’s aim is forest resilience – harvesting timber from Central Washington forests, producing lumber products for market, and in turn improving the health of the forests and preventing wildfires. The U.S. Forest Service is the largest landowner in the County, owning one-point-three million acres, and is the obvious first source for timber. Eighth District Congresswoman Kim Schrier spoke to the Forest Service last month on behalf of the forest products campus project; County Natural Resources Director Mike Kaputa says they seem to be on board:

The Forest Service recently awarded the county a 266-thousand dollar Wood Innovations Grant to explore the project; that’s on top of 166-thousand dollars in matching funds from the county, and another hundred-thousand from Colville-based Vaagen Timbers. But those monies are just for researching the viability of the project; actually building a sawmill would cost much more. Just how much more, Kaputa says, depends:

The county’s natural resources department has hired a team of consultants to develop a comprehensive design for an engineered sawmill, biomass and mass timber facility that would process small dimension logs thinned from the forest. The consultants will complete a wood supply assessment; site selection and business feasibility analysis; and a communications strategy to engage potential partners and investors in the project.