Forest industry pushes feds for more timber

Posted: October 7, 2011

Source: Duluth News Tribune

Forest industry needs more timberFederal Forest Resource Coalition Pushes Feds for MoreTimber

A group of timber industry leaders from across the country announced Thursday that they have formed a new lobbying group and opened a Washington office.

The new Federal Forest Resource Coalition plans to press for increased timber sales on national forests. Howard Hedstrom, president of Hedstrom Lumber near Grand Marais, will serve as president.

“For too long we’ve watched the Forest Service and other federal lands adopt a passive approach to management, which threatens our mills and the health of their forests,” Hedstrom said in a statement. “Opening a Washington office gives our industry a strong voice for a conservation-oriented timber sale program that can sustain crucial jobs in our rural communities.”

Hedstrom’s lumber mill on the Gunflint Trail is virtually surrounded by the Superior National Forest.

The industry has been through “extremely trying economic times. Many of our members are struggling to stay afloat,” said Tom Partin, president of the American Forest Resource Council in Portland, Ore., and the coalition’s vice president.

Forest Service officials have said their timber management programs have been thwarted by declining budgets that limit the size and number of timber sales they can offer.

The coalition consists of small and large companies and regional trade associations from more than 24 states whose members manufacture wood products, paper and biomass energy from trees cut on federal land. Coalition members employ more than 350,000 workers in more than 650 mills with payrolls of more than $19 billion. The coalition will work with industry, conservation and local government groups to support cutting more trees on federal land.