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October 22 – 26, 2019 is Forest Products Week

By Community, News

OCTOBER 22-26, 2019 IS IDAHO FOREST PRODUCTS WEEK IDAHO – (October 11, 2019) Governor Brad Little has formally proclaimed the week of October 22-26, 2019 to be Idaho Forest Products Week. “The Idaho Forest Products Industry plays an essential part of the state’s history, culture, environment and economy,” said Governor Little. “It also plays an essential role as a fundamental industry to the State of Idaho, providing for the production of wood and paper products from Idaho forests.” Idaho has 21.5 million acres of forest land spanning from the Canadian border to the southern edge of the state. Over 40% of Idaho is covered in trees. Idaho’s forest sector is one of Idaho’s leading trade sectors, contributing more than $2 billion to the state’s gross and state product, providing 30,000 jobs, and generating more than $3 billion in sales and $25 million in tax revenue. “Sustainable forest management under the Idaho Forest Practices Act provides countless benefits, including clean air and water, fish and wildlife habitat, recreation, scenic beauty, local renewable energy, forest products used by Idahoans every day, and employment and tax revenue for local communities, counties and the state of Idaho,” said Little. Wood is widely recognized as renewable, recyclable, durable, versatile and energy efficient green building materials. Products from sustainably managed forests play a critical role in combating climate change due to natural process of photosynthesis where trees absorb carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, release oxygen into the atmosphere and capture carbon, which is stored in wood products for the life of…

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Shared Stewardship, forest, state

Federal–State “Shared Stewardship” Strategy Takes Hold

By Community, News
By Steve Wilent On May 8, Washington State became the second state to sign a “shared stewardship” memorandum of understanding (MOU) agreement with the US Forest Service. The MOU calls for the state and the Forest Service “to work collaboratively toward mutual goals and effectively respond to the increasing suite of challenges facing communities, landscapes, and natural resources across the state. The partnership will work together to improve forest health—a cornerstone of clean water and abundant wildlife habitat—and create exceptional recreational and outdoor opportunities across the state,” according to a joint announcement. “Wildfire, forest health, and habitat loss are not issues that respect property lines,” said Washington commissioner of public lands Hilary Franz. “To truly tackle our wildfire and forest health crisis, at the pace and scale this crisis demands, we need a strong partnership between Washington State and the USDA Forest Service. This agreement ensures that our response will be unified, well-coordinated, and deliver maximum benefit for the people.” Idaho was the first state to enter into a shared stewardship agreement with the Forest Service. On May 8, 2019, Hilary Franz, Washington State’s commissioner of public lands, announces the signing of a shared stewardship memorandum of understanding between the state and the US Forest Service (USFS), calling it a model for other states to follow. USFS Chief Vicki Christiansen looks on. Photo: Washington Department of Natural Resources. “By pooling resources, sharing expertise and making decisions together, the State of Idaho and the Forest Service can get more work done in our forests to protect...
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Bringing the St. Regis Mill into the Family

By Community, News

Idaho Forest Group acquired the St. Regis (MT) mill in December 2017. The mill was old and outdated, but a hidden gem. With commitment, hard work, and heart from managers and employees around the company, St. Regis has made impressive strides improving organization, efficiency, and safety. IFG has a strong and unwavering commitment to safety at our mills, physically making sure operations are safe and training team members in protocols to prevent and deal with accidents, should they happen. Our first project was ensuring the St. Regis mill was safe for IFG employees. The mill has also been transformed to improve workflow and efficiency. For example, 6 million board feet of log decks were mixed-species when IFG came in. Those logs have now been sorted by species. A sprinkler system that uses water from a recirculation pond is being constructed to catch and reuse irrigation water. The team identified outdated and inefficient machinery, redesigned log flow, and purchased new equipment to improve output. Next, we’ll be changing the mill from a 9’ multiple mill to an 8’ mill to meet growing demand from the home center market. We are grateful to the community of St. Regis for a warm welcome and hope to continue to make progress on projects that will improve quality of life around the mill, like those we’ve already completed to reduce emissions, mitigate dust, and start a new apprenticeship program for residents.

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Log Truck Drivers Needed

By Community, News

Manufacturing lumber involves a lot more than just milling wood. It involves sourcing logs, transporting the logs, manufacturing products, finding suitable markets, and transporting the products to the markets. All of these tasks require people to do the work. A labor shortage has become a major concern for many industries in the U.S. and truck driver positions are one of the most common jobs to go unfilled. According to the American Trucking Association the United States is projected to be short 175,000 truck drivers by 2026.  Log truck driving companies are already feeling the effects of this shortage in Idaho and Montana. Driving a log truck takes experience and special skills beyond those common to CDL licensed drivers. There are few formal training options anywhere in the country, and none located nearby. Schools have typically been underused because they require a significant financial investment and a log truck certification is not generally required to work in the industry. It’s likely, that given this lack of training availability, there are people who are interested in learning about driving a log truck but don’t feel confident in making a commitment (purchase of equipment) without some understanding of what the job entails. In 2018 over 143,000 log trucks delivered logs to Idaho Forest Group’s (IFG) mills.  Timely delivery to mill after the harvest of these logs is crucial to our operations.  Logs that sit at forest sites too long lose value, are attractants for pests, hold up payments to landowners, and are potential fire hazards. As fire threat…

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Prichard Creek Restoration

By Community, News

Idaho Forest Group  always aims to have a positive impact in the communities in which we operate from sponsoring youth sports teams, to volunteering at educational events, to donating to local charities; we invest in our homes.  One of these investments is just starting to take shape, will live on in perpetuity for everyone. In 2014, Idaho Forest Group (IFG) purchased nearly 2,000 acres of the Prichard Creek stream and bordering forestland from a single private landowner. Prichard Creek flows down from the Montana border passing the historic town of Murray and draining into the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River. Its entire length once served as cold water refuge from the summer heat, for bull trout and cutthroat trout. Around the turn of the 20th century, the creek was mined for gold using an in-stream floating dredge that removed thousands of tons of sediment from the creek bed and leaving large piles of rocks bordering it. These operations have changed the shape of the creek leaving decreased riparian vegetation, eroding banks, sediment loading into the water, decreased sinuosity, and a three-mile stretch that flows subsurface during the summer months. Prichard’s waters are very cold and have relatively high water quality. Almost all of the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River has been impacted by mining and development.  Prichard Creek stands out as “low hanging fruit” in the basin for potential restoration because the water quality is decent, the waters are cold, and it is mostly surrounded by public lands. IFG saw an…

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