Derek is a pretty skookum guy. A while back he said the Saratoga Mill had reopened. I hate to confess that I doubted him, because the entire time I worked in Region 2 it was on the horizon.. but always on the horizon, sort of a sawmill Holy Grail. I also thought I would have seen it in a news clip.
Derek, I apologize.
So, sure enough, I went to a field hearing today at the State Capitol (more later on that) and who did I run into also looking for the meeting room, but one of the folks who runs the now open Saratoga mill. How did I miss that?
So I looked on the trusty internet and found this… on USA Today of all places!
Here’s the link and below is an excerpt.
A HARD FALL
The housing downturn hit the wood products and timber industries hard.
At the height of the housing boom in 2005, consumption of U.S. lumber hit almost 65 billion board feet. It fell to about half that at the bottom of the market in 2010. Last year, it climbed back to 37.5 billion and will likely pass 40 billion this year, FEA estimates.
With rising demand, a few lumber mills are roaring back to life. Out of 146 North American lumber mills closed since 2008, 14 have reopened or announced plans to do so, says industry analyst Paul Jannke. Five are in the U.S., including the one in Evergreen, and others are in Alabama, Wyoming, Virginia and Colorado. The rest are in Canada.
Other mills are reopening, too, including those making plywood and oriented strand board, a plywood competitor.
This summer, Toronto’s Norbord expects to reopen an OSB mill in Jefferson, Texas, that has been closed since 2009, the company says.
Rising prices are a big motivator. OSB prices are up 134% since the end of 2011, Jannke says. Framing lumber prices are up 64%, according to the composite index kept by the Random Lengths industry newsletter. Plywood prices are up 43%.
“Prices are strong enough that we can make a profit,” says Gary Ervin, owner of Saratoga Forest Management. In January, it reopened a mill in Saratoga, Wyo., that makes studs used to frame houses. The mill had been closed for 10 years. It now employs 80.
None of the reopened mills are especially large, but neither are their communities. Saratoga, population 1,678, describes itself as a place “where the trout leap in Main Street.”