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RE: Roundlog export from Gravina
by Eric Nichols


November 06, 2004

This is in response to Mr. Sallee's viewpoint and his picture of the barge load of red cedar from Gravina Island.

Mr. Sallee's comments are based on whether these logs should be processed into lumber locally. This timber was put up for sale by the Mental Health Trust on a competitive bid basis. Three bids were submitted. No sawmills in Alaska bid on this timber. Alcan submitted the highest price and was awarded the timber sale. The Mental Health Trust will receive over $3 million for their timber. Currently 56 new jobs are here in Ketchikan with the harvest of this timber. In addition to the $3 million in stumpage an additional $4 million will be spent on the harvesting cost of this timber sale. In excess of $7 million in economic benefits will accrue from this timber sale. If I follow Mr. Sallee's thoughts this timber should be processed locally. Since no local mills bid on the timber then no jobs and no $7 million in economic benefits would have accrued from this sale and Ketchikan would not have the 56 jobs if local process would have been mandated.

Since this was a competitive bid timber sale the logs will be sold at a market price. They are available for sale whether to a local mill or others. The barge load of small diameter red cedar can not be processed cost effectively due to their small size with the sawmill equipment currently in place in Ketchikan. Consequently the logs will go to a state-of-the-art sawmill in the State of Washington where they will be efficiently turned in to fence boards and sold throughout the western and southwestern portions of the United States.

In order to save the viewsheds for Ketchikan this timber is being selectively harvested by helicopter at a very high cost compared to clear cutting with conventional logging equipment. In order to pay for this high cost of harvesting, the logs must be sold to the markets that can most cost efficiently process them into lumber and therefore pay a higher price for the logs.

Not many logs may be processed locally but the people of Ketchikan do not have to look at clearcuts for the next 20 years, the Mental Health Trust received a fair value for their timber and 56 new jobs were created in Ketchikan. Overall a pretty fair trade off.

Eric Nichols
Ketchikan, AK - USA



Related Viewpoint:

Roundlog export from Gravina by Mike Sallee - Ketchikan, AK - USA



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