Each of Colorado’s U.S. senators will be visiting Grand County next week. In press releases issued on Friday, June 28, the camps of both Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) and Sen. Mark Udall (D-Eldorado Springs) announced each of them would be visiting businesses in Grand County central to timber issues facing Colorado. At the beginning of next week, Bennet will pay a visit to Parshall’s Colorado Timber Resources mill and Udall will tour Hester Log and Lumber in Kremmling.
Bennet will tour Colorado Timber Resources to see firsthand “its success creating jobs, helping to maintain the health of local forests, and building Colorado’s timber industry,” states a press release.
He will be joined by Grand County Commissioners as well as U.S. and Colorado State Foresters and local loggers.
Colorado Timber Resources specializes in processing beetle kill trees into two-by-fours. By creating a local market for beetle-killed wood, this mill creates wood processing and logging jobs and reduces the fuel loads to help mitigate the risk and severity of forest fires.
Among beetle-kill-related work, Bennett has supported the Senate Farm Bill, he championed efforts to double funding for beetle kill mitigation work, reauthorized the Healthy Forests Reserve Program, and supports permanently reauthorizing the Permanent Stewardship Contracting Authority Act, which supports public private partnerships to allow private entities like sawmills the ability to turn the problem of excess biomass into profit.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, Udall plans to hold events in Grand, Routt and Moffat counties to “highlight his work to support local job creation, promote public-private partnerships to encourage a smarter forest and land management strategy, and develop a balanced national energy portfolio,” according to statements.
He plans to tour the Hester Log and Lumber in Kremmling to learn more about challenges facing the timber industry and ways that public-private partnerships can improve forest management and promote healthier forests.
From there, Udall will host an alternative energy roundtable with local businesses in Steamboat Springs. This roundtable discussion on alternative energy is part of Udall’s energy outreach tour which “highlights ways Colorado is leading the nation on energy independence,” the release states.
A visit to the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps (RMYC) summer program in Routt County rounds out his activities Tuesday, then on Wednesday Udall is scheduled to start the day touring Rogue Resources’ Mountain Pine Manufacturing, which has been working closely with local, state and federal entities to help mitigate the pine beetle outbreak while creating jobs. Rogue Resources recently received a $300,000 USDA grant to expand its market to invest in wood straw products that can be used for erosion control. Next, Udall hosts a land trust roundtable with land trust leaders in Hayden to discuss federal land protection and figure out ways that these public-private partnerships can work better to protect land and provide good-paying jobs.
Finally, he tours Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association’s Craig station to learn about the innovative ways the plant is using coal byproduct to create stronger building materials, such as concrete for highway paving.