While just 37 percent of Washington forest is privately owned land, it accounts for a full 67 percent of wood harvested in the state each year!

While just 37 percent of Washington forest is privately owned land, it accounts for a full 67 percent of wood harvested in the state each year!

Planting now, for the future

Active forest management does much more than produce timber and toilet paper.

As Washington emerges from a spring focused on COVID-19, one local group has spent the season in the state’s forests, planting hope for the future.

It’s a ritual that plays out each year for Washington’s working foresters – planting trees that down the road will supply the next generation’s home-building lumber and paper products.

In fact, this planned-and-planted program for renewal originated right here eight decades ago, when the Clemons tree farm, our nation’s first, was founded western Washington; today, Snohomish County boasts 385,136 acres of working forest.

“In a never-ending cycle, working foresters grow, harvest and replant trees in order to start the new crop of trees growing to produce renewable wood and paper products for all of us,” says Cindy Mitchell, at the Washington Forest Protection Association.

Planning for the future

While more than half of Washington is covered in trees, only 37 percent of that is privately owned land. However, that same 37 percent also accounts for a full 67 percent of wood harvested in the state each year!

The result is a steady supply of wood for everything from home construction to products made from the residual fiber, like paper towels and face masks – work that supports more than 101,000 workers, generates about $5.5 billion in wages annually, and pays about $214 million in tax.

Here in Snohomish County, that equates to 6,211 direct and indirect jobs, and $324,928,283 in wages.

Chris McCabe, executive director of the Northwest Pulp & Paper Association, says pulp and paper mills in the Northwest rely on a steady supply of residual wood chips and sawdust delivered from sawmills in Washington, Oregon and Idaho to make the products people use every day. This includes a variety of essential products ranging from toilet paper and facial tissue to packaging and food storage containers.

“The COVID-19 outbreak underscores the importance of the forest products supply chain and why we must keep all aspects of our sector active and healthy,” he says.

RELATED READING: Why the construction industry is essential to local toilet paper stocks

But what happens after the harvest? For every tree harvested in Washington state, three are planted – 52 million new carbon-absorbing trees every year that help reduce our carbon footprint by 35 percent and keep water cool and clean so salmon can thrive.

It also helps reduce the risk of forest fires, a growing problem with our longer, drier summers and more people getting out to enjoy local forest.

Innovation moving forward

Back in 1941, Washington’s Clemons tree farm took the innovative step of moving from simply cutting trees to seeing planting and growing as critical to long-term success.

Today’s working forests are just as innovative, using the best available science to improve and evolve forest practices to achieve goals for sustainability and environmental protection. Science guides decisions about managing these complex ecosystems, and new technology provides ways of improving both the process and the products made from renewable timber.

To learn more about the role Washington’s working forests play today, and tomorrow, visit workingforests.org

Talk to us

More in Marketplace

Former Bellevue Football assistant head coach publishes his side of the story

A national championship, 12 state championships and many investigations

Fraud in the Coronavirus Era

From bogus unemployment claims to fake COVID-19 supplies, fraud is big business

4 Ways COVID-19 Has Affected Home Lending

Is now the ‘right time’ to buy or refinance a home?

Enrichment comes full circle: healthy soils, healthy businesses, healthy families!

Home delivery service helps restaurants, farmers, and the people of Puget Sound

Gail and Alice chat in the hallway at Windsor Square.
Inspired, independent living in a community you’ll love calling home

‘The safety and happiness of residents are key – the two go hand-in-hand.’

Bringing health care home

Filling the gaps of telemedicine

J. Stephan Banchero, III, president of Sound Bites (left) with John Moscrip, chief operating officer, Duke’s Seafood. Sound Bites delivers fresh organic produce, frozen protein and restaurant meals everywhere in Snohomish, King and Pierce counties.
Your SOUND choice for produce + restaurant favorites + more, delivered right to your door!

Get a head start with a weekly delivery of local organic produce, proteins, coffee and baked goods

Feeling blue? Why not try a seaside staycation!

Nautical, walkable, pet friendly Hotel Indigo offers a break from the ordinary

‘I’m proud of my police, and I’m proud of my community.’

Mayor Kartak explains the city’s response to May 31 protests

Get your wheels roadtrip-ready for your summer staycation

Everett’s Fast Eddies Tire Pros share what you need to know

Let your wedding venue be your ‘something blue’

Big celebration or party-for-two, Hotel Indigo in the Port of Everett will help you tie the knot