Guarded prediction for county trust timber revenues
Wahkiakum County's outlook for revenue from the harvest of timber from state managed trust forest lands isn't looking as good this year or next as last year turned out to be.
Timber prices seem to be stable, Steve Ogden, St. Helens district manager for the Department of Natural Resources, told the Wahkiakum County board of commissioners on Tuesday.
Revenue from sale of trust timber is a major source of income for county services.
Prices spiked in 2013, he said, and there may be a slight correction this year.
Last year, the county benefitted as the high markets boosted the value of the county's lone timber sale by more than $400,000 to a toal of $1.74 million.
Ogden doubted that will happen this year, even though he has estimated conservatively.
The department has one sale lined up for 2014, which is expected to generate $1 million. Another sale planned for 2015 should generate $855,750, and the county should receive $350,000 from the state Encumbered Lands Bill, which will compensate small counties for trust timberland that has become tied up because of endangered species habitat protection.
Commission Chair Dan Cothren urged Ogden and Regional Manager Eric Wisch to find some extra timber revenue for the county.
Ogden said the department had already taken advantage of every small patch that could help.
Cothren also commented that the department has begun a 10-year review of sustained management plan. He suggested the department move to a shorter rotation with trees harvested sooner than the department's traditional 60 years.
Ogden responded that the DNR has dropped the 60-year guideline and is now harvesting faster in areas of rapid growth to meet the changing log dimensions which mills demand.
"It depends on the landscapes and the markets," Ogden said.