Michigan –-(Ammoland.com)- The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Forest Service today announced that the first Good Neighbor Authority (GNA) timber sale contracts have been awarded to Biewer Lumber, LLC. The timber sales are located in the Huron-Manistee National Forest in Lake and Wexford counties.
Under the GNA partnership, the DNR acts as an agent – in collaboration with the Forest Service – to conduct land-management projects on national forest lands.
A 10-year master agreement was signed by the Forest Service and the DNR in October 2015.
“Michigan greatly appreciates the diligent work by the U.S. Forest Service to make this agreement a reality,” said Bill O’Neill, chief of the DNR’s Forest Resources Division. “The success of this first contract is a great example of how this partnership will continue to maintain and create healthy forest conditions, as called for in the national forests’ management plans, while providing additional wood fiber to industry.”
Michigan’s forest products industry contributes $20 billion per year to the state’s economy. Across the state, the forest products industry employs more than 96,600 people in diverse positions – from loggers and truck drivers in rural areas to furniture and cabinetry makers in more urban settings. In the Upper Peninsula, the forest products industry alone is responsible for one-third of all manufacturing jobs.
“This is an excellent example of a state and federal agency partnership functioning efficiently and effectively to serve the needs of the state’s local and rural economies,” said O’Neill, who also serves as Michigan’s state forester.
He said that the current focus for Good Neighbor Authority projects is on commercial timber sale preparation, bidding and contracting, with completion of most of this work by the end of October 2016.
Additional forester staff has been hired to help with the GNA workload and ensure that work on state-managed lands still is being accomplished.
The first contracts of the agreement involve 120 acres of predominantly red pine, which is being thinned to promote further growth of the remaining trees. Biewer Lumber is a St. Clair, Michigan-based company with sawmills and treated lumber facilities in Lake City, McBain and Lansing. It specializes in many commercial and industrial-grade lumber products.
“Biewer Lumber is very pleased with the implementation of the Good Neighbor Authority project between the U.S. Forest Service and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources,” said Tim Biewer, owner of the company. “These two organizations working together to increase the volume of Forest Service timber on the market will benefit many – from recreation to the forest products industry.”
He said that the increase in timber output will help Biewer by putting more red pine on the market and allowing more acres to be managed on national forest system land.
“We hope that this program will continue to grow as we move forward,” he said.
Michigan was the second state in the country to sign GNA agreements, and the DNR is working on projects in all three national forests in Michigan – the Huron-Manistee National Forest in the Lower Peninsula and the Ottawa and Hiawatha national forests in the Upper Peninsula.
A portion of the receipts from the GNA timber sales will reimburse the state for its costs to do the timber sale preparation work, with remaining funds available to conduct additional projects with the national forests in Michigan.
Discussions currently are under way between the DNR and the Ottawa, Hiawatha and Huron-Manistee national forests to identify Good Neighbor Authority projects for 2017.
Learn more about the Good Neighbor Authority. Find out more about Michigan’s state forests.
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