Seattle-Snohomish Mill Company was the apparent high bidder for the Skywalker Small Business Administration (SBA) Timber Sale, located on the Wenatchee River Ranger District about three miles north of Leavenworth in the Chumstick Creek drainage. The timber will be hauled to a mill in Snohomish, Wash., to be processed.
The Skywalker SBA Timber Sale is estimated to contain 16,208 hundred cubic feet (ccf) of timber that includes Douglas-fir, ponderosa pine and grand fir trees. It also includes 1,265 ccf of green biomass material, which is required to be removed at a fixed rate.
The timber sale is part of the Chumstick Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project Environmental Assessment and its efforts to reduce forest fuels that can feed wildland fires in the Chumstick Valley. The fuels reduction efforts were developed through a collaborative process with adjacent land owners, conservation groups and other agencies involved with the Chumstick Wildfire Stewardship Coalition (http://www.chumstickcoalition.org/)
The environmental assessment calls for the largest, most fire-resistant trees to be left on the landscape. Areas of thick undergrowth and overstocked stands of trees in excess of wildlife habitat needs are to be thinned through timber harvests and controlled burns to help reduce fire danger to communities.
Timber removal in the sale area will be completed primarily through skyline yarding. Some ground-based equipment such as feller bunchers will also be used. The timber sale purchaser is expected to complete or fund road construction and reconstruction for routes used to haul timber from the sale area.
The Skywalker SBA Timber Sale was offered as part of a program requirement with the Small Business Administration to help businesses with 500 or fewer employees supply logs to small timber mills.
Timber value is determined in a manner similar to home appraisals. U.S. Forest Service personnel develop an advertised rate for the timber sale based upon similar sales sold the past 12 months on Eastern Washington national forests. The advertised rate contains adjustments for sale area conditions such as tree size, terrain, timber volume per acre, distance to nearest mill and logging systems to be used.
Annual Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest timber harvests from 2000 to 2012 have ranged between 35 and 50 million board feet.