Forest Salvage plus Local Milling equals Sustainable Finish Lumber

wood grain closeup
Vertical grained old growth cedar from Local Source Forest Products

The RE Store asks the folks at Local Source Forest Products, Inc. how they can make the claim to be creating sustainably harvested, locally processed old growth wood products. Old spring board stumps and felled tree remnants from 100-year old historic logging operations are being turned into premium finish grade material in their Whatcom County facility. The Local Source team removes the millable wood via helicopter to minimize on-the-ground impact to the forest. Literally tons of material are left behind to support the natural decomposition, soil renewal and habitat functions of fallen trees.

Take a tour with Simon, Loren and Ken to see the portable saw mill, repurposed shipping container wood kiln and finish shop.

Loren Tracy, co-owner in TD Wood Recovery as well as Local Source, talked about the source of their wood.

“There is a forest of stumps out there that were logged 80-100 years ago. What our partners specialize in is creating high value products out of those remnants of historic logging operations. We can’t cut any living trees. We are just taking out the useful material that is otherwise left to rot on the hillsides. It hasn’t (rotted) for a hundred years and it is still sitting there. It is still a large volume of material that is sound and is amazingly beautiful and very hard to come by unless you are in other reaches of Northern America where you can cut down live old growth. It is unfortunate that is still happening.”

Simon Petree, owner of Greenleaf Forest Products and co-owner of Local Source, detailed the origins of their focus on salvage logging and why the various partners came together.

“I started out working for a logging land clearing company. We would go to the logging jobs and grind all the logging debris. The mills don’t want “oversized” stuff (trees). They are set up for smaller stuff so I’ve seen lots of oversized logs that could be turned into good finished product, being ground up and sent off.”

“So I bought my first saw mill in the late 90’s just kind of for fun. Then in 2002 it actually turned into a full time deal where started going around and ran a portable saw mill business. I also would sell lumber off of the jobs that I was working on. A lot of my clientele was saying, “Where can I get this wood dried that you just milled. Where can I get it processed?” There was nobody locally that could do that so we got this shop going to do that and also to process the salvaged woods that Ken and Lauren have been doing for years and years.”

Simon continues, “Another one of our motivations for this shop was to keep things in the county. Our wood doesn’t typically travel more than the tri-county area. Its just great. Its all going back to the county where it came from.”

The RE Store is now carrying flooring, trim, quarter round, dimensional lumber, door trim packages and more. All products are sustainably harvested (salvage logged), locally milled and truly worth a trip to come and see the fine quality of this wood.

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