Bear Creek Lumber

Quality. Value. Expertise. Since 1977

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Volume 17 Number 3 2003
March 2003


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In This Issue:
Finns Defend Their Saunas
Life of a Tree Planter
Industry News
Western Water Alert
Remodeling Outlook for 03

Another classic Bear Creek Lumber Home
by Kirk Worden & Hallie Roberts, Springfield MO
3/4 X 8 WRC Clear Vertical Grain Bevel
and 5/4 X 4 & 10 WRC Clear Trim

More About Bear Creek Products and Services

Answering A Few Customer Questions...
Why Don’t You Publish a Pricelist?
Bear Creek lumber keeps a vast and varied product line that includes many over runs and exclusive types of products. Our inventory control has 19,000 items within it. These products are shipped anywhere from down the street, to places as far away as Asia and Europe. We can’t supply a full pricelist with that many variables, but we can custom quote any package and usually can do so over the phone. We always appreciate a list of materials, but even if you only need a rough estimate, we can usually supply you with one in a prompt and timely manner.
Can You Send Me Samples?
We prefer taking digital photos because then you can see the entire pile of wood instead of six inches of one piece, but we can put together a sample pack for you. There is a $10 shipping and handling charge, which can be paid with a credit card.
Do You Have An Outlet Close To Me?
We made a corporate decision years ago to keep it simple. One location, a small staff, top quality products and services. Some day we may change our minds and expand but don’t count on it. We prefer spending our time finding the finest wood products for our customers. Our staff likes the ability to enjoy where they live and that means keeping operations on a 40-hour week. But you, as a customer, are very welcome to come here and visit. Its a great vacation destination any time of year!
Does Timber Harvest Harm the Environment?
Bear Creek Lumber believes that wood products are the most environmentally benign and ecologically sound of all manufactured building products. There have been mistakes made in the past with harvesting techniques but the industry has made many good faith reforms . Wood products provide economic opportunity worldwide and should be supported for the good things they do for the local communities they support. We, at Bear Creek Lumber, applaud good stewardship of the land. Trees are our past, present and future. We support tree planting, and the recycling of lumber/timber products, a full circle that benefits everyone.

Finns Defend Their Saunas
With temperatures plunging below zero for weeks, the Finnish government has suggested a way to save energy that borders on sacrilege: Take cooler saunas. This is far more serious than telling Americans to park their SUVs. Roasting in the sauna is the national pastime in this hardy Nordic country, whose northern quarter sits above the Arctic Circle. The sauna has been featured on seven Finnish postage stamps. It's been given an annual day (the second Saturday in June), and celebrated in the 1835 national epic poem, the "Kalevala." It was the setting for a popular TV talk show, on which stripped-down politicians were known to press the flesh. With about 1.6 million saunas — most of them electric-powered — and 5.2 million people, there's about one sauna per family in Finland. Temperatures in the traditional smoke sauna peak at 248 degrees, "the hottest place a human being goes on a voluntary basis," The hard-core whack themselves through the winter with freeze-dried birch leaves. It helps circulation, they say.
The problem is the Finns all seem to use them at the same time.
"We are an extremely systematic people," said Matti Vuoria, chairman of the country's largest energy provider, the state-owned Fortum. "It means every Friday evening or Saturday, about 5 million people will go into a sauna."
On Jan. 2, after two frigid weeks and record energy consumption, the Ministry of Trade and Industry suggested turning the heat down to between 158 and 176 degrees. Setting the thermostat to 212 uses 30 percent more energy, it noted. And it suggested there are other ways to relax. "Playing card games and board games is the best kind of pastime for the family," the ministry said. "The only energy you'll spend is brain energy."
The suggestion didn't go over well. The next day, a Friday, the country set a record for energy consumption, nearly 14,000 megawatts between 5 and 6 p.m. Vuoria said the government news release stopped short of being a recommendation. "Otherwise, the reaction would be almost hostile," he ventured. "You cannot limit a basic right. As a Finn, I have three issues in my life that are important: my family, my children and my sauna. This is an area where no one tells me how to behave."

Canadian Tree Planters Do World Class Job
Tree Planter Terminology

Bag Out : To have planted all the trees in your planting bag.
Bag Up: To load trees into planting bags.
Cache: The boxes of seedlings delivered to each planter. The cache is where you bag up.
Cream Show: Contract where all the land is fast and creamy.
Crummy: Large, bulky 4WD vehicle used for transporting up to 15 crew members.
D-handle: Most commonly used shovel, with traditional handle and a horizontal grip.
Duff: Mussy, organic matter that covers mineral soil.
Highballer: Someone who consistently ranks in the top percentile of a camps overall production.
Micro site: The location for planting one tree. Micro site selection is a very important consideration when planting each tree.
Screef: To clear either litter or duff from a micro site with a shovel or boot.
Shovel-tuck :Tucking the roots of the tree into the ground by using the blade of a shovel rather than your hand. Unless done properly, this can damage the root system
Snarb: bad land
Story from Weyerhauser Quarterly 2002 Spring newsletter
Spring planting has started across Canada and while the job is tough, a 90- percent success rate for seedlings shows our tree planters are up to the challenge
He goes to the cache and bags-up. Clutching a D-handle, he picks his micro site, screefs the duff and carefully shovel-tucks the roots. This is no cream show. But he’s a highballer and used to the snarb. Eight long hours after starting, he finally bags-out. Even the crummy’s going to feel good tonight.
Confused? Chances are you’ve never been a treeplanter. Tree planting is a unique job that involves specialized skills, a distinct lifestyle and even an exclusive language. It’s also a job most people know little about, but one that’s vital to the environment and to the forest industry.
In 2001 alone, Weyerhauser in Canada planted approximately 56 million seedlings on over 40,000 hectares of land. The survival rate of the seedlings, on average, is about 90 percent. The success of these forests is due in part to the skill of the people who planted them. Sean Monaghan, a veteran planter in his 14th season, has planted a number of Weyerhaeuser blocks and knows what it takes.
“Planters need to know the right plug depth and how to space adequately,” Sean says. “They also need to be able to micro site - which means finding the highest spot with the best soil.”
“If you’re planting cedar you probably want them in organic soil, for fir you may want the mineral soil. The planter has to determine the soil and the plant accordingly. You need to know what you’re doing and you need to be tough.
World Class Athletes
Tree planting requires enormous physical effort. An average planter will plant three trees per minute while carrying a 15 - kilo load. He or she will walk approximately 16 kilometers a day, and maintain a heart rate of approximately 132 beats a minute. A 1985 Simon Fraser University study determined the level of physical exertion, and work efficiency of tree planters is among the highest recorded in human occupational performance studies. Tree planters, the study concludes, expend about 75 percent of the energy spent by Olympic marathoners in training.
The spring planting season generally lasts from late April to mid June. Some contractors also plant in summer season, from June to August. In some regions of B.C., tree planting is an almost year-round activity, but usually only highly experienced planters get to work on these projects.

Industry News
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said U.S. housing affordability rose to the highest level in a year during the fourth quarter, as low mortgage rates made borrowing cheaper. The group's Housing Affordability Index rose to 140.7 from 135.9 in the previous quarter, the highest since the fourth quarter of 2001, when it was 141.3, the Washington-based trade group said. A reading of 100 means a family with the national median income makes exactly enough to pay for a median priced home, and a higher reading indicates homes are more affordable.
The NAR also predicts another strong year for building with starts of about 1.63 million homes, a 3% decrease from 2002, but still one of the best years ever.
The Commerce Department said national construction spending rose 1.2 percent in December, with home building the main source of strength, marking the biggest gain in 10 months. Analysts were expecting a 0.3 percent increase. For 2002, however, construction spending rose by 0.4 percent, a slowdown from the 2.7 percent gain in 2001.
“ The housing market will be transitioning from a seller’s market to more balance between buyers and sellers. This will take pressure off the pricing increases we’ve been experiencing for the past two years,” said Fannie Mae Chief Economist David Person.

Western Water Alert
More precious than gold? For large-scale development outside established urban areas, water rights are a necessary part of the picture - no project checklist would be complete without assuring an adequate supply of water to the site for both construction and long-term use. For smaller projects, builders and developers may be less familiar with the potential pitfalls associated with water supply and water rights. In the Western states, what was once an abundant supply of water is disappearing and water wars are looming.
The basic rule of water law is that a water right is required for almost all types of water use - whether the water comes from a surface source, such as a stream or river, or from ground water through a well. A water right authorizes use of a certain amount of water for a specific purpose ( such as domestic, irrigation, commercial, industrial, or municipal), in a particular location. In addition, the water right includes a priority date relative to other water rights that have already been issued for use of the same source of water. The priority date is a key part of the water law, ”first in time, first in right.” In times of shortage, water is distributed on the basis of priority dates, from the most senior to the most junior. There in no proportional distribution during drought; the most senior rights are entitled to take all of the water authorized for their use before anyone else receives water.
Once issued, the water right can last forever, so long as the water is regularly used in accordance with its terms and conditions. Many water rights in the state have priority dates from the mid- to late 1800s, and they remain valid today. Fully developed and vested water rights are “appurtenant” to
the land, and treated as a property right under the law. However, if the water right is not used for a period of five or more years, it may be subject to forfeiture and cancellation.
Most development within urban growth boundaries is served by a municipal water provider - such as a city or water district - which holds the water right. If the building site is within a municipal service district, you’re home free. If the site is not served by a municipal provider, it will be up to the landowner or developer to obtain any water rights that will be required.
The process to acquire water rights requires approximately 6-9 months, if all goes smoothly. But it is not unusual for the water rights process to require a year or longer when complications arise due to resource concerns or when protest are filed by ‘Interested parties’. In Washington state with a 6,000 application backlog, some water rights requests have been lanquishing for 15 years.
Exemptions to the state water laws will generally provide sufficient water for a single-family home. Small subdivisions, however, should be careful to obtain water rights to allow for lawn and garden irrigation. And, builders and developers should be aware of the potential asset they may have in water rights acquired with lands purchased for future development - such rights may be a value commodity as water markets emerge.

Remodeling Outlook for 2003
The National Association of Home Builders predicts a five to six per cent increase in remodeling activity in 2003. The only downside seen is a decrease in rental properties. Overall, the continued low interest rates, and rising home values, make remodeling an attractive investment for most homeowners and property managers.
The biggest increase in remodeling were seen in the high-end jobs, with the South and the Northeast showing the most activity. The West and Midwest were slowing down in 2002.
Many custom home builders who see their new home markets tightening are turning to remodeling work to keep crews busy. Remodeling may prove more lucrative in the long run as housing stocks get older and demand increases.

Editor: Ela Bannick ela@bearcreeklumber.com Feature Writer: Sage Bannick sagebannick@aol.com

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