By Laura Clark
Ukiah Daily Journal
November 18, 1999

"For everything there is a season," even timber. And at Mendocino Redwood Company, this year's timber harvest season has come to an end; but not due to a lack of trees.

To address concerns about soil erosion, sedimentation and the protection of anadromous fish, MRC has cut down on wintertime logging, according to chief forester, Mike Jani.

Which means, "you have to log enough in the summertime dry period in order to run the mills year round," Jani said. Though this is done "specifically to address environmental concerns," it also keeps all those "employees employed year round," Jani noted.

But, it also makes for what appears to be a big pile of logs at the Ukiah sawmill, right now, at the end of the timber harvest season. "It looks like a humongous pile of logs and largely looks like small logs," Jani said. "For just your run-of-the-mill Ukiah commuter, one might think looking at that pile, that there are way too many little trees being cut."

"And, with as fast as those decks are being built up, that there is over-accelerated cutting going on. But there is a different story than that, in those big piles of small logs," he noted.

Besides the environmental issues, and the stocking up for winter concept, Jani said the other part of the story with the "big pile of small logs," is that only about half of the logs in it, come from MRC lands.

The other half of the pile comes from timber land owners, both big and small, throughout Sonoma, Mendocino, and Humboldt counties, Jani said. And from consulting foresters and loggers who work in the area, he added.

As for the size of the logs, Jani said they are small because the mill was designed only for small logs. He said the larger logs and the logs that were generated from larger trees that were cut, are normally loaded onto log trucks out in the woods and shipped directly to other mills in Sonoma, Mendocino and Humboldt counties.

With the timber harvest season over, MRC plans to keep its mill workers busy sawing logs (primarily redwoods and Douglas firs), into lumber. "Logs are sawed into lumber through a very efficient automated and computer controlled mill," Jani said.

After the logs are manufactured into rough lumber, the lumber is either surfaced in a planing mill, kiln dried, or goes into pressure treating. Jani said they also take some of the surfaced-planed redwood and "Thompsanize it," which he said is a pressure injection of Thompsons Water Seal. To "increase efficiency" and keep up with the demand for lumber, a second shift was recently put on at the Ukiah mill. "It takes a certain number of bodies to run a sawmill," Jani said. "The demand was there and sales at Home Depot have been strong this year." (Home Depot buys almost all of the lumber that comes out of the sawmill.)

However, Jani stressed that MRC did not increase the cutting on its land to fill that demand. He said they were able to purchase logs on the open market from other forest land owners here locally

Copyright 1999 Ukiah Daily Journal