Bear Creek Lumber

Quality. Value. Expertise. Since 1977

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Volume 16 Number 11
November 2002

Holiday Closures At Bear Creek
November 28- Dec 1, December 24-27
January 1-6

In This Issue:
Global Forest Industry
Sees Growth Decline

Industry News
Labor Shortages
Addressed by NAHB
Priced Direct To You/
November.Specials

Satisified Customer Shares
Pictures of His Red Cedar Home

I finally got around to thanking you for your products and services. Enclosed are pictures of my new house with it’s exterior of Western Red Cedar from Bear Creek Lumber.

I was lucky enough to be able to design my own home and serve as the General Contractor as well. I specified 1x6 T&G siding using it both vertically and horizontally. I could not find a clear grade of cedar in Northern California, and the STK was expensive. I saved a lot of money, and received a better product from you. As you can see in the pictures, I used a multitude of sizes for the house, deck, trim, and overhead trellis. I hand stained everything with a natural color cedar stain.
The siding was beautiful and nearly defect free, and everything else was high quality. I was very pleased with the outcome, and would use you again. Sy Bannick was my salesman and was very helpful. Thank you.
Sincerely, Michael H. - Sebastopol CA
Grizzley Efforts Make A North Cascades Comeback
Grizzley bears once roamed the entire continental U.S., but in the past fifty years have been almost entirely confined to the back country of the highest mountains of the western U.S.and Alaska. Biologists are pleased with the results of reintroduction of the griz back in Yellowstone Park, and are now focusing their efforts on the North Cascades of Washington State, after determining the Bitteroot Mountains of Idaho would not be suitable.
The North Cascades have large areas of wilderness and a common border with Canada, where a healthy griz population still exists. Biologists estimate that between 5 and 20 bears already freely roam in these mountains although few bears have been seen since the 1950’s (none since 1996). While city dwellers in Seattle applaud the planting of bears in the back country, those who will be living with the bears in their back yards are less enthusiastic
Economically depressed Okanogan County has already endured a variety of economic problems, from spotted owls shutting down their timber industry to a failing apple economy that has decimated the agricultural base. Then water restrictions to protect salmon were implemented, further depressing any sustainable tax base. Tourism and the high tech industry, once believed to be the economic savior for this area, have never played up to their promise. County unemployment rarely dips into single digits anymore. The remaining ranchers and farmers know that any species added to their already substantial burden to protect, will mean more economic losses, if not the final nail in their generations of family-run homesteads.
Yet the Cascades has more land, and fewer people, than most mountainous areas and has been adveristised as the best hope for those who believe that grizzly bears should be a part of the American ecosystem. Most people in North Central Washington state are okay with letting the bears migrate in naturally but are dead set against planting bears. To get around the controversy, agreements have been made with Canadian biologists to plant the bears on the border and nudge them south. This circumvents environmental oversight, and public comment within the U.S. When this was proposed two years ago, outcry delayed the restocking effort.
Now the spin is on again. A group called the Intermountain Grizzley Bear Committee has hired a consulting firm to launch a yearlong public relations campaign to smooth the way for the Canuck bears, who reportedly were released in October. The consulting group’s mission will be to teach Okanogan County residents how to get along with the continent’s most ferious carnivore in ways such as keeping all garbage cans and pets inside, and learning to roll over and play dead Okanogan residents already enjoy one of the largest and fastest growing populations of mountain lions, as well as long standing relations with black bears who enjoy the free pickings in the local orchards. Most folks have had few problems living with these critters who tend to be very reclusive. Many on the pro-griz side say their bears will be just as invisible. The question is, will the government be as non-intrusive as the bear? Many ranchers anticipate a whole new bureaucracy similar to that born of the salmon fiasco, dictating new rules and expensive fines for even the lightest infraction. The accidental “taking” of a salmon ( which includes any disruption to in-stream waters ) is a $5,000 fine, and a trip to court, no excuses.
Whatever the outcome, the additional hosting of a new threatened species could well endanger both the local Okanogan economy, its visitors, and its tax paying citizens.

Due to the holiday closures noted above, please try to order your materials from Bear Creek this month for delivery before January
Industry News
New home sales in August hit a monthly all-time high, and new claims for jobless benefits plunged, providing a dose of good news for the economy. Housing is one of the few bright spots in the economy. Low mortgage rates are enticing buyers. Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages this week dropped to a new record low of 5.99 percent.
By region, new home sales in the West rose by 7.4 percent in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 276,000. In the South, sales went up by 1.3 percent to a rate of 476,000. But in the Northeast, sales dropped by 9.5 percent to a rate of 57,000. And in the Midwest, sales were flat at a rate of 187,000.
Industry giant Weyerhaeuser's financial health is closely tied to the home construction and remodeling market. The company's boards - which come in dimensions such as 2-by-6 and 2-by-8 - are nailed into thousands of homes each year. And usually, when the construction industry sees a boom, so does Weyerhaeuser. But not this year. Oversupply throughout the U.S. and Canada have driven the company’s stock way down. And as Weyerhauser’s stock goes, so does the industry’s. When the company took a bath in the market in September, similar companies across the board plunged with it. Some blame the overproduction on Canada, but Weyerhauser has huge Canadian holdings. Some blame it on southern timberlands now being harvested by private landowners after a 1970’s government planting program turned unused fields into timberlands with a quick 25-yr. growth period. Regardless, the news is not good for the struggling timber industry.
Labor Shortages Addressed By National Association of Home Builders
A report by the NAHB Task Force on Labor Shortages makes several recommendations geared to reversing a trend that has become increasingly debilitating for the nation’s home builders over the past five years.
“The industry has lost appeal among high-quality young workers. And labor shortages are beginning to hamper our ability to deliver a quality product at a fair price,” Tom Woods, chairman of the task force told the NAHB Board of Directors at its fall meeting last month in Greensboro, N.C.
The 18-member task force identified six key areas where action is imperative throughout the NAHB federation:
• The industry’s image as a career choice is poor. The task force found that young potential workers are not as aware as they should be of the career opportunities afforded by the home building industry. A rapid increase in the application of information, and other cutting edge technologies to residential construction is one area that can be used to attract the interest of workers just beginning careers.
• The industry’s recruitment practices are fragmented. Task force recommendations in this area are threefold: creating an electronic job bank managed by the Home Builders Institute (HBI), instituting a training system that would enable local and state home bulders associations (HBAs) to develop local training programs, and making a stronger commitment to the student chapters of the association.
• The industry’s skill training and career development are inadequate. The task force says that the industry needs to make a major investment in training for entry level jobs, and educate workers as they progress in their field. This will entail defining a new role for local and state HBA’s in work force development.
• The industry’s wages and benefits must be competitive. Good hard, real-time data needs to be compiled so that home builders can make more informed decisions about wages and benefits, the task force says. Homebuilders also need support in the setting up of benefit packages.
• The industry also lacks adequate resources for training. The task force noted that HBI has scored tremendous success in securing federal, state, and local government grants, but there are still not enough available resources to provide the training that is needed. This is a challenge for the industry that will require commitment and organization.
• The industry is hampered by some laws and regulations. The task force recommends a congressional Summit on the Home Builder Labor Shortages, a recommendation seconded by the NAHB Board of Directors in Greensboro.
For a copy of the task force report or additional information contact Carolee Mills at HBI at 800-795-7955. The report is also available on HBI’s web site (hbi.org) under work force development.
Editor: Ela Bannick ela@bearcreeklumber.com Feature Writer: Sage Bannick sagebannick@aol.com
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