Storm-hit timber industry needs years to recover

Published: Aug. 20, 2019 at 6:05 PM CDT
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Dennis Schoeneck of Enterprise Forest Products has been logging for more than 40 years and has never seen the industry hit this hard. "We've got just over a thousand acres for just us that we have to some how get through," he explained.

The market was already not doing so well and the storms just added to the troubles. "The log market was already bad now because of the amount of trees that are blown over and destroyed are log trees. Now we are trying to harvest those logs," explained Schoeneck.

Schoeneck was among some of the lucky log companies that were able to pull away from standing timber sales to focus on salvaging what fell in the storms and helping private land owners. But cleaning up isn't that easy or safe. Trees are laying twisted on top of one another or near power lines.

Most of the trees damaged will likely go to waste. "These trees are snapped over and their value has decreased tremendously because of the storm. It's all these big trees that everybody has been growing and not planning to cut but now we have to cut them. So the log markets are becoming saturated," he said.

Most land owners will likely lose a lot of revenue for any trees that fell during the storms because of how saturated the market is with timber. Schoeneck said if anyone has timber that isn't damaged your best bet is to wait until next year when the market settles back down.

It could take 80 years to see some of the acres grow back completely.

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