Loggers are packing up and leaving timber sales uncut across the Northwest. It’s another effect of the partial government shutdown. Timber companies say even if a deal is reached soon at the nation’s capitol, the effects from the logging hiatus could be felt all the way into next spring.
Timber companies received letters from the Forest Service telling them to cease operations. That’s because the employees who oversee and inspect timber sales were furloughed.
Adam Molenda is the president of the Timber Products Manufacturers Association, based in Spokane, which represents logging companies, mills, truckers and others in the Northwest. He says the halt to logging comes at the worst possible time for the industry.
“This is a critical time of year,” Molenda says. “They’re building inventory for the winter. So, the loggers can’t fall the trees and they’re not getting them to the mill. The people in the mill are also going to be affected. And not only are they going to be affected now, they’re going to be affected in the spring because they’re not going to have any logs in the spring.”
Mills build up their inventory at this time of year because later the ground can get too muddy to work.
Molenda says he hopes any deal between the president and Congress is reached sooner rather than later.
One sawmill owner in southeast Idaho told the Idaho Statesman newspaper the shutdown could put him out of business.