Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Future of Pacific Lumber?

The ER reports that PL has filed a reorganization plan. The article focused on the details of how PL says they plan to pay $750 million they owe to creditors [mainly banks and insurance groups] by selling aprox. 28,600 acres of company land at steep prices.

The article makes no mention of the hundreds of former PL employees who were laid of and recieved no severance pay.

The article says the plan would leave "181,000 acres of timberlands for sustained timber harvesting". Lacking from the article is any detail on Pacific Lumber/Scopac plans on sustaining a timber harvest.

From the artcle: A key feature identified in the plan is the consolidation of PALCO, SCOPAC and its subsidiaries under a new business model that will continue sawmill and forest operations, but at harvest levels significantly lower than current or historical rates.

Publicizing the harvest strategy will be key for the public to make its own judgement on the viability of the plan and the intentions of those who drafted it.

What the article does cover is how PL would subdivide and sell most of the Marbled Murrelet Conservation Areas. These are some of the groves of Headwaters Forest that were set aside for 50 years at the signing of the "Headwaters Agreement", not to be confused with the Headwaters Grove that is now under the charge of the federal Bureau of Land Management. This grove is marked on the map as "Headwaters Forest Reserve".

The company would charge $60,000 an acre for these stands. These conservation areas are under heavy environmental restrictions making it likely that only an entity with conservation in mind would consider purchasing these groves.

From the Eureka Reporter:
The second phase aims to raise an additional $780 million through the sale of 22,000 acres of lands the plan identifies as “Redwoods Ranch Development,” or individual 160-acre parcels to be marketed as “trophy” properties valued at approximately $5 million on average."


At 10/04/2007 08:02:00 AM, Anonymous Bolithio said...

And so begins the end....

Relatively soon, activists, loggers, and foresters will be out of work. Can any of us really imagine the ramifications of Humboldt without a timber industry? Before you scoff, consider:

- This place could become an expensive retirement community with no real jobs. Like Redding or such, where the economy is based on a service industry - not resource or manufacturing.

- Weed will be legal soon (within 10 years?) and that source of liquid cash will be gone from Humboldt. Couple that with an eliminated timber industry and you have no real community based resources generating income.

Consider breaking up 250,000 acres into small parcels. Yes, the current plan is only 22,000 - but what do you think is going to happen? What’s worth money here: the real estate or the timber? Does the price sound too high? Sure, but not to "farmers". Just watch. These parcels will be bought up faster than you can say 'Matanuska'. People will work the land and then it will be over. Poorly maintained roads will cover the county to thousands and thousands of rural residences complete with tons of un-regulated structures, creek crossings, and vegetation modifications will plague a once productive timberland.

If you want to know what this will look like on a map, look at a parcel map of the Mattole watershed. I think the NCWAP Mattole project had one. It seriously looks like a puzzle. Compare that with the contiguous large blocks of timberland that comprise the PALCO ownership – and you can readily see the problem with breaking down these wild areas. Yes they have been logged – and will be again – but they still are forests, supporting a substantial portion of Humboldt’s wildlife and fauna.

Even if these lands are bought up by preservation groups – like save the redwoods – these lands will be plagued by out of the area growers as we are starting to see – who don’t care (or just don’t really know) about the environment.

In the long-long run, these parcels will eventually get smaller and smaller, more roads will be built and less large tracts of wilderness will exist. I suppose this is progress, and somewhat inevitable and population demands will strain all wild areas of the world – yet it would be nice to keep these places wildland as long as possible.


At 10/04/2007 08:52:00 AM, Blogger John Doe #86 said...

I appreciate your analysis Bolithio, thank you.

I too am worried that irresponsible growers will buy some of these parcels. There are so many cheaper properties though.

I wonder if PL's HCP regulations will still apply to these subdivisions. I've seen first hand that well used roads have to be kept in good condition, it's mandated under the HCP.

I think that subdivision for trophy homes is not compatible with the goals for which the MMCA's or "Ancient Redwood Groves" were supposedly created [ actually about 50% oldgrowth I read in the SF Chron article.]

Human activity will inevitably increase the presence of Jays and other birds that prey upon Marbled Murrelet young.

If the pot economy takes a drop as you have predicted then maybe there wouldn't be so many grows on timberland.

The "Ancient Groves" are very shaded places, not good for growing a crop. Also, they are remote there are few options for access.

I don't think the reorganization plan is realistic and will fail if attempted.

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At 10/14/2007 10:26:00 PM, Blogger Forest Defender said...

It looks like you're getting spam.

At 10/15/2007 09:20:00 AM, Blogger John Doe #86 said...

At least it's not Steve Lewis.


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