Bear Creek Lumber

Quality. Value. Expertise. Since 1977

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In This Issue:

Volume 15 Number 7 August 2001

Lichens: A Sign of Forest Health
Grizzlies At the Border
Industry News
Housing at the Crossroads
Fire Spread Data

Moonlight Madness Specials

To Place an order Call (800) 597-7191

or e-mail customerservice@bearcreeklumber.com

Douglas Fir
Kiln Dried Timber and Beams

• 4 x 4 thru 4 x 10
• 6 x 6 thru 6 x 10
• 8 x 8
Now Available
Just writing to say that I personally love my Bear Creek Lumber deck and so do the bears!!!! I have a Bear Creek Lumber 5/4 x 6 radius edge, Western Red Cedar deck in my back yard. It's about 400 s.f. in total. Quite a few bears have used it, but this is the first time I was able to take a picture of one. I thought it might me a good one for your monthly newsletter.
I live in Juneau, Alaska and I know you have many loyal customers here -in fact, I was "turned on" to BCL by one of them. My deck is a low-profile design with creosote joists and beams. I was following with interest a while back other customer’s recommendations for deck treatments. I tried quite a few. All the Thompsons are junk - none lasted even a year. The best I've used so far is the Olympic Deck Stain guaranteed for 2 years. I have not tried the Behr products, but I've heard good things.
Lars G.
Auke Bay, AK

Attention, Architects

Bears Love Bear Creek Lumber

Bear Creek Lumber often works with members of the architectural community. We are looking for your input! As part of our information gathering, we will be posting an architect questionnaire on our website to get information about what architects are looking for in custom finish wood products. Every response will get a free gift! For those who don’t have Internet access, call (800) 597-7191 and we will do the survey over the phone. Or fax you the form! We want your ideas!

Lichens:

Ancient Life Forms A Sign Of Forest Health

Lichen, commonly seen in forests throughout the world, are the dinosaurs that survived. Existing throughout the world, they are the oldest, living organisms known to man. So old in fact, that they are often used to date ancient archeological relics.
Lichen are unique. What appears to be one life form is really the symbiotic combination of two or more orders. Lichen are a group of non-vascular plants which result from a marriage of fungus and a type of green algae, the algae feeding the fungus. Although composing only a small percentage of the lichen’s mass, the algae makes carbohydrates and provides them to the fungus. The result is a union of two plants that seem to be one with an appearance of neither.

Lichen grow on trees and rocks

Lichens play are important part in nutrient cycling, which is the transfer of elements between living and non-living groups such as rocks, trees and animals. Lichen perform this service by collecting atmospheric elements like nitrogen and carbon and storing them in their tissue as they grow. There are 18,000 species of lichen, from tree clinging forms to rock and soil based organisms. The more complex a forest’s biological structure, the more likely lichen will be found. They feed both plant and animal species, are non-destructive and self-sufficient.

A mule deer watches our photographer Melissa Hinkle while protecting her hidden fawn
Recently, lichens were found to be the canary of the forests, their presence indicating the overall air quality of the area. Lichens appear more frequently on healthy trees than unhealthy ones. Lichens die back or disappear altogether where levels of sulfuric acid are high. They also respond to airborne toxins, although many will absorb and diffuse these toxins. This ability helps scientists identify problems in the forest due to heavy metals.
Lichens also have been shown to have antibiotic qualities and have been used as medicines throughout the world by herbal practitioners. They have been used to make dyes, woven into clothing and are a source for textile making. They have even been mixed with mud to use as a building material.
In the forest, they feed wintering wildlife, such as deer, caribou and reindeer and are a year round food for the Northern flying squirrel. They are edible for humans who can eat them raw, deep fried, boiled or in soups ( although its rarely done these days). They have about as much nutritional value as breakfast cereal. Considered a delicacy by the Salish Indians of the Northwest, they believed lichen were coyote hair that when pulled from the forest branches was magically transformed into a gift for their people from the coyote spirit. The gift remains today, waiting in the forest, a legacy from the past.
Canadian wildlife biologists announced their intentions to drop 5 grizzly sows per year for the next five years at the border between Washington State and British Columbia where Manning Provincial Park meets Okanogan County. Needless to say, county officials and local residents were less than thrilled. Years of scientific searching for the grizzlies in the North Cascades mountains had failed to produce any DNA evidence of current bear activity. Okanogan County is mostly ranches, farms and vacation homes, with over 2 million acres of forested lands. Most of the county is federally owned national forest or wilderness, an easy target for a bear drop. What worries locals is that despite an open border, and the fact that the bears can travel 60 miles a day, they do not naturally inhabit the area. Dropping off hungry mother bears may well produce the same results as when you drop off puppies and kittens, who become dangerous starving and sick animals without the capacity to survive on their own.
While the likelihood of bear attacks will be relatively low, it could hurt tourism and threaten hunters and hikers who come across the bears. There is a local consensus that the bears are welcome to migrate down on their own, anytime, but relocation efforts by government agencies are seemingly futile and potentially dangerous, for the bears and their neighbors.

Grizzlies at the Border

Industry News:

Despite government policy to make national forest land timber available to local mills, the amount of timber harvested in the year 2000 was only 1% of what had been harvested in 1990. The NW Forest plan had a harvest target of 600 million board feet but only 69 million actually were sold and cut. Most of the delays were based on surveys for endangered species or lawsuits about the surveys. About the time one survey was completed , a new listing would be made, initiating a new survey. Survey findings were often appealed. The results are that dozens of mills have continue to close throughout the Northwest, where timber was once a mainstay of the NW region’s economy.
An example of the end of the timber era is the closing of the Prineville mill. Ochoco Lumber is Oregon’s oldest sawmill. Its last 80 employees have been told that there no longer is sufficient timber supplies available from private lands to keep its operation going. Workers, who earned an average of $35,000 per year, will get 60 days of medical insurance help and some retraining. In 1991, after the NW Forest Plan had been implemented, the mill had spent millions of dollars to retrofit its operation to saw smaller diameter material so as to be more attuned to the younger and more available second growth forest products. But an inability to get any trees from national forest lands hobbled the company and eventually shut the mill.
Siding, siding on the wall, who is the most popular of them all? According to a survey of the Journal of Light Construction readership, wood siding rules. 45% would choose wood siding or have customers who want wood siding more than other types. 65% of the respondents said they always backprimed the siding they install. The overwhelming majority said that they would use wood

Housing At the Crossroads

Good News

•An annual average of 1.82 million new housing units will be needed nationwide in the next ten years to meet the underlying demand for housing, according to the National Association of Home Builders latest ten-year forecast.
• The biggest demand will be for trade-up housing, including second homes and “young senior” housing as baby boomers reach retirement age. The rental, starter home and broader senior markets will be stronger in the second half of the decade.
• Home ownership is at its highest level ever, with 67.5% of Americans owning their own homes. Home ownership is shown to raise overall property values, decrease crime, and stabilize communities, even during adverse economic times.
• Homes are bigger, buyers are looking for more extras and even adding the extras after they buy the home, strengthening the market for construction professionals and quality lumber products for years to come.
• Interest rates, which have kept housing lending strong, are expected to stay low for the foreseeable future.

Bad News

•The rate of home ownership among young households is still below the peak reached in 1979.
• While millions of working families need affordable housing to buy or rent, the number of low -income rental units is declining by almost half a million per year. Many low income renters pay 50% of their income for rent.
• Federal housing assistance will provide $120 million in 2001, up from $95 million in 1990, but two-thirds is targeted towards those who already own their own home in the form of a tax deduction for mortgage interest.
• Thousands of people in metropolitan areas commute 100 miles or more because of the lack of affordable housing in the communities where they work. Many of these include teachers, firemen, hospital workers and others who work in the public sector.

Flame Spread Data

According to the Western Wood Products Association, designers and builders can now use four more Western species groups for interior uses thanks to recently completed flame spread tests done by WWPA. The tests for western larch, hem-fir, White fir and Sugar pine were conducted this year. All except sugar pine were rated as Class B (II) while sugar pine rated C (III). The results were better than expected and should increase use of these species for commercial applications. The test data is available on-line at www.wwpa.org


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