Bighorn Mountain Forestry Projects
Posted on: Jan 18, 2018
On the north side of the Bighorn Mountains, two separate, notable logging sale operations are underway. One of the projects is a Wyoming State Forestry Division project. The other is a USFS project referred to as the Johnson Creek timber sale, which spans 585 acres. The differing scale of the two projects creates the need for different crews, harvest and hauling techniques, and end products created from the wood.
Montana-based R-Y Timber Inc. was the sole bidder for the Jackson Creek sale. R-Y creates 2x4 studs mainly out of the wood harvested from the USFS project, which is a commercial production.
The state contract was awarded to Crowley, Wyoming-based Cowboy Timber, which specializes in posts, poles and rough-cut lumber, as well as firewood.
A recent article from the Sheridan Press includes other subcontractors involved in these projects and greater detail on the different techniques utilized on both projects.
To put these projects in context, understanding the Wyoming forestry market is important. According to the USDA and USFS, Wyoming’s forests cover 17 percent of the state, almost 10.5 million acres.
As of 2015, the most recent year of reporting, there were currently 5,271 permanent forest inventory plots, of which 858 plots contain accessible forestland.
Wyoming’s forests are comprised of several ownership groups geographically dispersed throughout the State. The USFS owns 56 percent of the forests. The rest of the forestland is owned by other federal agencies (26 percent), state and local government (4 percent), and undifferentiated private (14 percent).
More than 51 percent of the 14.6 billion cubic feet of live volume is located on lands managed by the USFS. Of those 9.4 billion cubic feet, 14 percent exists on reserved lands meaning that it is unavailable for harvest. Privately owned forests comprise 8 percent of Wyoming’s total live volume.
Privately owned forestland totals just over 1.1 million acres. Of the private forestland, 63.3 percent is classified as timberland, unreserved forestland capable of producing 20 cubic feet of wood per acre per year of trees designated as a timber species. By definition unreserved forestland is land that is considered available for harvesting activity where wood can be removed for timber products. The remaining 36.6 percent is classified as unproductive, which are not capable of producing 20 cubic feet of wood per acre per year of trees designated as a timber species.
If you are interested in buying or selling private forest in Wyoming, give us a call. We'd be glad to help you navigate the process.
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