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Log Truck Summer
State sales increase traffic

Methow Valley residents are seeing many logging trucks rolling valley roads this summer, but not all the timber is coming from the Methow River’s watershed.

The Urchin Timber Sale is the only active timber sale on the Methow Valley Ranger District this year, according to district vegetation manager Megan Johnson. The sale will produce approximately 8.5 million board feet of harvested timber taken from a 1270 acre area.

photo of full log truckA log truck awaits its driver at the grocery store in Winthrop. A truckload of logs is usually 4,000-5,000 board feet. A board foot is 12 inches square by 1 inch thick.

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources has a timber sale, named French Twist Forest Improvement Treatment, located on state land in Texas Creek, French Creek and McCall Basin, according to Bryan Flint, DNR Communications Director. That timber is going to Cle Elum, Flint said: approximately five to ten loads per day are being hauled from French Twist, and he emphasized ‘approximately’.

The Urchin Sale lies in Cub Creek, where sale purchaser Sierra Pacific Industries may have operators running from 10 to 30 truck loads per day. Some logs are being hauled to Sierra Pacific on the west side, some are going to Idaho.
The Urchin Sale is about 70% Douglas fir, 20% ponderosa pine and 10% mixed white woods.

A less typical local logging contract comes with the Fish Eddy Direct Sale in the War Creek and South Creek campgrounds on the Methow Valley Ranger District. Eight dead hazard trees need to be removed from the campgrounds, Johnson said. The trees are going to come out with their root-wads attached, to be used by the Methow Salmon Recovery Foundation for fish habitat improvement projects. They will likely come out in August be moved with a lowboy trailer or dump truck.

“The number of truckloads is hard to estimate but should not be more than three to four,” said Johnson.

The Urchin and French Twist and Fish Eddy sales together don’t explain the volume of logging trucks: timber from Department of Natural Resources land in the eastern parts of Okanogan County is rolling westward.

Three active DNR timber sales are delivering logs to Hampton Tree Farms in Darrington. Flint explained: the Quartz sale in the Loomis State Forest and the Turkey Buzzard and Moss sales in the Loup Loup State Forest. 

AA Logging (Acord) located near Tonasket is logging the Quartz Sale. Marcon Timber located near Leavenworth is the operator on Turkey Buzzard, while White Logging located near Twisp/Winthrop is the operator on Moss. 

photo of loaded log truck in downtown winthropLoaded log trucks in downtown Winthrop had become an uncommon sight until this summer. This load is headed west over Highway 20, probably to a mill in Darrington or near Mount Vernon.

“It is estimated that each of these three timber sale may each be delivering five to ten loads per day to (Darrington) depending on the tree species that is predominantly in the stand that is being harvested at the time,” according to Flint.  Most, if not all, of the Douglas-fir and western larch is going to Darrington while the other tree species, for example ponderosa pine, is going to Boise which is located in Kettle Falls and Arden and Vaagen Brothers, located in Colville.

Remsberg Logging has purchased two smaller Methow Valley Ranger District timber sales, but are not logging them this season, Johnson said. Lucky Unit 52 is in the Cassal Creek area northwest of Winthrop is summer logging, the original volume was 53,000 board feet, with 80% Douglas fir and 20% ponderosa pine. Finley Unit 5 is required winter logging at the bottom of Finley Canyon: 160,000 board feet.

In the late 1970's both Winthrop and Twisp Ranger Districts were producing around 35 million board feet each for a total of 70 million board feet per year from national forest lands in the Methow Valley, according to Johnson.


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