PARSHALL - Colorado Timber Resources LLC recently purchased the former Valley Recycling property where they plan to open a lumber mill by the end of October.
The mill will be creating 2 x 4s from beetle killed trees in the area, giving Grand County an opportunity to grow economically while at the same time reducing the fire danger and making room for new growth in the area.
The beetle kill 2 x 4s are as structurally sound as any other wood product on the market, said Dave Fiala, one of the five owners of the company.
The company has been assessing Grand County's forests for more than three years and recently found the former recycling plant with the help of local realtors. The plant makes for a prefect location for the mill as it is located out of town limits and is also next to the railroad tracks.
The company pans to use local logging companies to cut the trees and will ship them out of the county via railroad.
Jobs and trees
As second generation owners with more than 100 years of collective experience in the wood products industry among the five owners, Colorado Timber Resources has identified Grand County as a lucrative area to operate a lumber mill.
With the large amount of beetle killed trees in Grand County and the need for new jobs, the company will have no problem finding enough wood to cut as well as workers to operate the mill.
"As a business owner it is important that the business grows and is sustainable, but the workers are the glue that that hold the business together," Fiala said.
The company will be hiring 15-20 workers for the first shifts at the mill, with the possibility of adding more jobs in the future. Residual jobs will also be created by the company's move into the county.
"The biggest thing is impacting the community in a positive way," Fiala said.
The owners have been bringing in equipment from across the country and have been using local laborers to install the equipment at the mill. They have also started bringing logs in, despite their inability to begin production yet due to the need to complete the installation of the equipment.
The mill will be operating year-round, so there is a necessity to stockpile logs for the winter as logging operations become increasingly more difficult in the winter and spring.
There is huge potential for growth within the community for both the new lumber mill and for the local economy, according to Fiala.
"We want to create a long term partnership with the local community that will be beneficial to both parties," Fiala said.
The company moved to the area from Seattle, Wash., and is the second wood products company to make the move into Colorado in the last year.
A Wyoming-based lumber company recently purchased Intermounatin Resources sawmill in Montrose and has begun operations. The mill in Montrose is a producer of Ponderosa pine boards, pattern, decking, and industrial lumber.
Over 4 million acres of regional forests have been ravaged by the mountain pine beetle epidemic, leaving more than enough wood to go around.