Western Wood Processing Facilities Map

Created by Jean Daniels, United States Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station.

While trying to follow up on this discussion of the size and shape of the wood products industry.. I ran across the above map. You can click on it to get a better scale to check out your own local industry. After a couple of clicks, you get a much smaller scale where you can see the different colored circles for different industries.

The site where I found the map is the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economics Research Forest Industry section here. There is much useful information, including the Timber Outlooks and the Regional Reports (although I couldn’t find these for recent years).

7 thoughts on “Western Wood Processing Facilities Map”

  1. I’ve used this site. It’s the USDA 2009 profile of softwood sawmills in the US and Canada. Anxiously awaiting the 2010 version(that’s sarcasm). It’s usefull to compare with previous year profiles to see mill closures.(I think the profiles go back to the mid 90’s?) The individual state maps list mill name, place, and capacity. The capacity is in “lumber tally” and not scribner log scale. you figure the overrun. The “state maps” also list “mill closures” for the previous five years.


    I’ve used the Montana Bureau of economics before-but I never saw the “sawlog prices” delivered to the mill before. In 2011 Lodgepole pine was $250/MBF delivered while in 2006 it was $450/MBF. Now you can see how “Intermountain Resources” could afford to haul logs 250 miles to their mill in Montrose in 2006-but today the USFS gets to essentially pay for the diesel fuel to haul it from the stewardship WUI logging in Breckenridge. You get about 4-5 MBF/truck load. Thats another $800/load.


    • Actually the map is my creation, made from mill information collected by the BBER at the University of Montana. There are way more mill types than sawmills in that map. Mill level capacity is confidential, so I only have location information. Feel free to contact me if you have questions, comments, or you would like copies of the GIS shapefiles I developed.

  2. Thanks Sharon. This is good information, but I’m still wondering whether they have information on the sourcing of wood supply (i.e. public or private land). I don’t see it on the site, and it may be hard to get that information from the companies. But it would be most useful for the purposes of our discussions here. My sense is that most of the existing facilities are able to source from a variety of locations but do not depend on national forests on a regular basis. It would just be good to see how this plays out on a percentage basis.

    Seeing data on the percentage of supply coming off National Forests (current and projected) for each of the existing facilities on the map you provided could help us understand how significant (or insignificant) the industry’s role is in legislative or other policy related issues affecting National Forest lands. It would also be really interesting to see if some wood products (e.g. biomass or chips) are sourced more from National Forest land than others (e.g. saw logs).

    Any information that anyone could provide on this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    • I think the information is available somewhere, at least it was a few years ago in Colorado. I wrote a forest economist at U of M and we’ll see how that works.

      If I remember Colorado correctly, they were mostly small mills with small percentages coming from the FS.

      The original question I posed was whether these small family mills (either individually or collectively) could be considered to be “corporate” in the sense of “corporate interests” or whether it would be equally valid to call them “providers of family-wage jobs in rural areas.” The term “corporate interests” calls to mind Lehman Brothers or British Petroleum; we’re talkin’ sawmills here.

  3. Derek incorrectly attributes the above map to “the USDA 2009 profile of softwood sawmills in the US and Canada.” This is not the map or the data reported by Henry Spelter, formerly with the USFS Forest Products Lab (FPL) in Madison, Wisconsin.
    The map above was created by Jean Daniels of PNW Research Station in Portland, OR, with data from my program’s research on the western wood products industry.
    If one is interested in milling capacity information recorded in cubic feet or board foot Scribner (log volumes), I would suggest BBER’s web site:
    or directly contacting me for more current information.
    The studies on the site are several years old at this point, but they do give a good idea of the changes in western timber-processing capacity from the late 1980s through the early 2000s. We are updating the western capacity study to reflect more current conditions that will show the impact of the huge downturn in US housing construction since 2006.
    Like all things, research takes time and money to accomplish; and getting things posted to the web site often is not the top priority.
    Thanks for your interest. We are working to provide more current info.

  4. Sorry Todd-I didn’t mean the above map was “from” the 2009 profile. I should have said “another usefull source is the 2009 profile”.

    By the way, I hope you’ll be offering your “very credible” percentage based perspective many times more on this blog. I once thought that if people knew how little was logged and how little is being logged now, they would be open to more logging.


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