October 13, 2005
The Alaska Region's State & Private Forestry program provided $567,254 in financial assistance to eight Alaska businesses as part of a cost-share grant program designed to assist in creating new or upgrading existing kiln drying facilities in the state.
"This grant opportunity allows businesses to enter into new markets in their community or to increase value of their existing products. By having valuable uses for timber resources, forest land owners are encouraged to go beyond the best management practices in the State's forest practices law and to invest in their forest lands to ensure healthier, more productive forests," said Alaska Division of Forestry State Forester Chris Maisch.
The grant recipients include:
The recipients of the grants were selected from an applicant pool of 17 Alaska businesses that were evaluated on their financial packages and their projects' impacts on dried lumber production. The grading system also looked at the project's ability to create or retain jobs and the value it added to lumber products.
"These grants are a key part of our ongoing effort to boost the economic health of communities in Southeast by helping our local, family-run businesses keep operating and create jobs," said Tongass National Forest Supervisor Forrest Cole. "Supporting our local communities is an essential part of what the Forest Service does. These kiln drying investments are critical in helping Alaska's wood products companies complete the cycle of drying, planing, grading and selling Alaska lumber to Alaskans."
Previous grant recipient Mike Holz with Nenana Lumber Company said. "In one year's time we were able to relocate our business, went from approximately 20 part time employees to 54 full time employees, and increased our sales by fourteen times in part due to the assistance of the Forest Service. We were able to purchase a dry kiln, molder and a build a drying shed. Due to these new additions, we are able to provide Alaskan businesses with products such as siding to be used locally on Alaskan homes. Without the help of this grant program, we would likely have lost the business or at least suffered from no growth."
The Forest Service Alaska Region State & Private Forestry staff provides the kiln drying grant program. The overall goal of State & Private Forestry programs in Alaska is to provide assistance to forest landowners, resource managers, and businesses so they can provide healthy, sustainable forests that provide many public benefits.
These programs are delivered to customers in close cooperation with the Alaska Division of Forestry and many other agencies and organizations.
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