GRANGEVILLE – Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) booked a boom year in fiscal 2014, which ended June 30: 347 million board feet valued at more than $72 million was harvested on endowment trust lands the agency manages.
In Idaho County alone, IDL’s timber sales accounted for 18 million board feet valued at more than $3.8 million harvested during fiscal 2014. One sale – the “Upper Suttler” sale near Kooskia – reaped nearly $1.5 million.
Statewide, IDL manages only about five percent of all the forest land, but produces about a third of the annual timber harvest. But this year was exceptional even by the agency’s standard, for two main reasons: Salvage sales made extra timber available, and favorable stumpage prices pushed those who bought sales to harvest sooner.
“Stumpage prices have been improving over the past three years,” IDL noted. Since fiscal 2012, stumpage prices have risen about 28 percent; IDL attributed the rise to improvement in the national and global economies.
Meanwhile, the annual harvest volume on state ground has approached 300 million board feet every year dating back to 2011; replanting averaged about 2 million tree seedlings per year during the boom.
IDL noted a report released by the University of Idaho in January, which found “every million board feet of timber harvested in Idaho provides $528,000 in wages and salaries, $3.2 million in sales of goods and services, and 18 jobs – 10 in the forest products industry and five in support industries.”
Three nearby sales – Mixed Rice west of White Bird, North Suttler northeast of Kooskia and Rack of Yak east of Kamiah – are scheduled to be sold during fiscal 2015 year. Seven others – Expulsion, Center Rail, Northern Yak, Sill Creek, Secret Service, Upper Suttler and Motorway – range from recently sold to nearly complete.
IDL continues to shift toward a smaller standing timber volume and shorter rotations that “reduce the risk of loss” and “reflect market trends and milling technology that favor smaller, more uniform log sizes.”