Railroads & Clearcuts
Railroad Land Grant
Corporations in the News: 2001 to 2004
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Recent Sales Revive Hopes in Bay Area, By John McCloud, New York Times, Dec 29, 2004.
Groups call for probe at BNSF refueling depot: Friends of the Aquifer, Sierra Club chapter ask county to investigate leak, by Benjamin Shors, [Spokane WA] Spokesman Review, December 23, 2004.
Weyerhaeuser Acquires Sawmill in Brazil in New Joint Venture. Company news release, Oct 29, 2004.
Western Canada Wilderness group aims to make old growth trees a major election issue. By Lindsay Kines, Victoria Times Colonist, October 13, 2004..The Western Canada Wilderness Committee plans to ramp up its fight to protect old growth trees in the Upper Walbran Valley in the run-up to next spring's provincial election.
Court Rules Weyerhaeuser Has Ongoing Substantive Obligations to the Haida. EAGLE (Environmental-Aboriginal Guardianship through Law and Education) news release, Sept 29, 2004.
The Supreme Court of British Columbia released its decision yesterday in a case brought by the Haida seeking to enforce Weyerhaeuser's obligations to consult and accommodate the Haida.
In 2002, the CHN won its case against Weyerhaeuser and the B.C. Crown regarding the transfer and replacement of Tree Farm Licence 39 on Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands). The Court of Appeal held that the Crown and Weyerhaeuser have duties to consult and accommodate the Haida with respect to their cultural and economic interests in the forests of Haida Gwaii. The Province and Weyerhaeuser appealed the decision, and a decision from the Supreme Court of Canada is expected soon.
Since the 2002 decision the Haida have attempted to reach accommodations with Weyerhaeuser and the Province. Also since the decision, the Province changed its forestry legislation to divest itself of the obligation to consult regarding transfers and replacements of Tree Farm Licences. The Haida went back to court when Weyerhaeuser declared no need to consult with the Haida regarding any potential transfer of that licence and refused to provide the Haida with information regarding monumental cedar within the licence area.
Yesterday, the Court ruled that despite the changes to the Forest Act, Weyerhaeuser cannot enter into a transfer agreement without first consulting the Haida (in other words, their duty is not tied to a Crown duty to consult in this instance). Weyerhaeuser's duty to consult requires disclosing to the Haida the identity of a proposed transferee and the terms of the proposed transfer. In effect, this means that the Province's amendments to forestry legislation over the last two years do not have the effect of legislating away the rights of the Haida or Weyerhaeuser's duties to consult and accommodate the Haida.
Guujaaw, President of the Haida Nation states that "The Province has downloaded this and many other responsibilities to the forest industry which should be a concern to everyone in this Province."
The court also confirmed that the Haida are entitled to all necessary information held by Weyerhaeuser, including inventory data. This should increase the ability of the Haida to ensure logging activities do not liquidate all old-growth cedar on Haida Gwaii. Says Guujaaw: "This is a victory for the forests of Haida Gwaii, which have already been heavily logged of old-growth forests, and a victory for the continuance of Haida Culture and the well being of the people who call this home."
For more information contact: Guujaaw, President of the Council of the Haida Nation at (604) 313-8250, or Cheryl Sharvit, Staff Lawyer, EAGLE at (604) 536-6261. This litigation is brought on behalf of the Council of the Haida Nation, by EAGLE, a not-for-profit charitable law organization dedicated to assisting Aboriginal Peoples with protecting the environment for future generations.
B.C. Government and Weyerhaeuser Agree on Tenure Reallocation. Company News Release, Sept 14, 2004.
Weyerhaeuser Company today announced that it has reached a tenure reallocation agreement with the Province of British Columbia. Under the terms of Bill 28 - Forestry Revitalization Act - the Province will reduce Weyerhaeuser's cutting rights by 1.2 million cubic meters of allowable annual cut and 8,000 hectares of timber licences. Weyerhaeuser will receive C$32.1 million in compensation for the loss of these rights.
In March 2003, the Provincial Government announced it would reallocate 20 per cent of issued Crown logging rights to make more wood available on the open market and for First Nations, community forests, woodlots, and new entrepreneurs...
Weyerhaeuser will retain an annual Crown land harvest of about 4.8 million cubic meters in British Columbia and will continue to operate on reallocated areas until they are transitioned to the Crown..."
Hunting allowed on Nature Conservancy lands in the Blackfoot. Nature Conservancy, Sept 11, 2004.
"The same access for hunting, personal wood-cutting and recreation on former Plum Creek timber lands in the Blackfoot watershed will be allowed under their new owner, The Nature Conservancy. This year, the Conservancy has purchased 42,927 acres of former Plum Creek timber lands in and around the Blackfoot Valley..."
Blackfoot conservation deal completed. By Sherry Devlin, The Missoulian, Sept 10, 2004.
Blackfoot Valley landowners working with The Nature Conservancy have completed a $32 million effort to preserve ranching, forestry, wildlife and public access on 42,927 acres.
Previously owned by Plum Creek Timber Co., the upper Blackfoot Valley land will now be resold - mostly to adjoining ranches, all with conservation agreements.
Wednesday's announcement covered the final 4,600 acres of a deal unveiled in February and achieved in three installments.
The latest purchase included three sections of land near Patterson Prairie outside Lincoln and 3,260 acres in the Nevada Creek drainage near Helmville.
As developed by the Blackfoot Challenge, a group of valley landowners, the plan calls for consolidation of the conservancy-purchased parcels with adjoining ranches in the Helmville area.
All of the affected landowners have expressed an interest in conservation agreements that keep the land in ranching, said The Nature Conservancy's Tana Kappel.
In addition, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks manages the nearby Nevada Lake Wildlife Management Area and would consider holding and managing conservation easements on the lands. The agreements would include walk-in public hunting access.
"We feel we can achieve our objectives of providing winter habitat for elk and mule deer, and public access for hunting and other compatible recreation, with private ownership," said Mike Thompson, a wildlife biologist for FWP.
"Basically," he said, "a conservation easement would maintain the traditional ranching operations, which have supported wildlife and hunting for many years."
In all, the project would preserve as ranch and timber land large patches of property between Clearwater Junction and Lincoln, in the upper Blackfoot Valley.
"We want to keep these lands intact for ranching and allow ranchers to expand their operations, while still maintaining the important wildlife habitat," said Jim Stone, chair of the Blackfoot Challenge and an Ovando-area rancher.
The Blackfoot Challenge initiated its "Blackfoot Community Project" in the fall of 2002 as a proactive response to the anticipated sale of some Plum Creek timberlands in the Blackfoot Valley.
The Nature Conservancy, in turn, agreed to assume the financial risk of obtaining loans and purchasing the land - which would then be resold to conservation-minded buyers.
"The local community continues to support this project because it will preserve this area's rural character and unique wildlands for future generations," Stone said.
With the first series of purchases complete, The Nature Conservancy would like to eventually broker another phase of the project - and potentially bring 89,000 acres into the Blackfoot Challenge's fold, Kappel said.
But all future work depends on financing, she said, so it's too uncertain to discuss in any detail.
In the meantime, The Nature Conservancy has 42,927 acres of land to manage.
For starters, Kappel said, the conservancy will provide the same access for hunting, personal wood-cutting and recreation allowed under Plum Creek ownership.
The lands involved are in the following areas: Marcum Mountain, Monture West, Ovando Mountain, Tupper Lake, Alice Creek, Bear Creek, in-holdings in the Blackfoot-Clearwater Wildlife Management Area, some lands north and south of Lincoln, and Nevada Creek.Some of the areas are covered by block management rules, including Ovando Mountain, Sunny Slope, Marcum-Kershaw Mountains and Shanley Creek. All are posted with specific public use regulations.
In all cases, walk-in access for hunting, non-motorized recreation and personal-use firewood gathering of down and dead wood is allowed.
42,927-acre land transfer in Blackfoot Valley finalized. Helena Independent Record, Sep 9, 2004.
The final installment of a three-part, 42,927-acre land deal in the Blackfoot Valley is now complete, with the purchase by The Nature Conservancy of 4,600 acres of Plum Creek Timber lands for about $3.3 million.
The latest purchase includes portions of three sections of land near Patterson Prairie, near Lincoln, with the bulk of the purchase involving 3,260 acres of property in the Nevada Creek area, near Helmville. Most of this purchase will be resold, after conservation easements are placed on it, to private ranchers. The latest purchase includes portions of three sections of land near Patterson Prairie, near Lincoln, with the bulk of the purchase involving 3,260 acres of property in the Nevada Creek area, near Helmville. Most of this purchase will be resold, after conservation easements are placed on it, to private ranchers.
According to The Nature Conservancy, the plan is to consolidate the Conservancy-purchased parcels in Nevada Creek with adjoining ranches to sustain ranching and conservation in the area.
In addition, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, which owns the 740-acre Nevada Lake Wildlife Management Area, is considering holding and managing conservation easements on some of the lands in the Nevada Creek. FWP would work to include walk-in public hunting access as part of the conservation easements.
"We feel we can achieve our objectives of providing winter habitat for elk and mule deer, and public access for hunting and other compatible recreation with private ownership, said Mike Thompson, wildlife biologist with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. "Basically, a conservation easement would maintain the traditional ranching operations, which have supported wildlife and hunting for many years.
Because the land would be privately owned and managed, the landowners would pay taxes on the land and improvements.
The entire $32 million deal is part of a plan developed by the Blackfoot Challenge, which is a group of Helmville, Lincoln and other area residents who want to protect conservation and community values on the properties, with an eye on managing the land in a way that maintains the valley's tradition of ranching, forestry, wildlife and public access.
The nonprofit, Virginia-based Nature Conservancy will temporarily hold the title to the lands while the Blackfoot Challenge works out a community-based plan for the resale of the property to public and private entities.
"We want to keep these lands intact for ranching and allow the ranchers to expand their operations, while still maintaining the important wildlife habitat," said Jim Stone, chair of the Blackfoot Challenge and Ovando area rancher.
The Blackfoot Challenge initiated the Blackfoot Community Project in the fall of 2002 - beginning with community meetings from Helmville to Seeley Lake - as a proactive response to the anticipated sale of some Plum Creek timberlands in the Blackfoot watershed. As a result, the Conservancy agreed to assume the financial risk of obtaining loans and purchasing the land.
"The local community continues to support this very ambitious project because it will preserve this area's rural character and unique wild lands for future generations," Stone said.
The Blackfoot River Valley generally flows westward from Rogers Pass and the Scapegoat Wilderness Area near Lincoln toward Helmville and Ovando. It's home to black and grizzly bears, elk, deer, mountain lion and lynx as well as nearly 235 bird species and native cutthroat and bull trout.
Unlike many urbanized areas of Montana, the 1.5-million-acre river valley is home to only about eight communities and 2,500 families.
In February, The Nature Conservancy purchased 18,443 acres from Plum Creek Timber for $13.8 million. Three months later, the conservation group bought another 19,883 acres for $14.9 million, for a total cost of about $32 million for the three parcels, or an average of about $750 an acre.
Blackfoot Community Project secures third installment of timber land. Nature Conservancy, Sept 8, 2004.
The Nature Conservancy, acting on behalf of the Blackfoot Challenge, last week purchased 4,600 acres of Plum Creek lands in the Blackfoot Valley, most of which will be re-sold with conservation agreements to private ranchers.
This purchase marks the final installment of the purchase agreement announced last fall with Plum Creek timber company. The Conservancy will temporarily hold the lands it purchased this year - around 42,927 acres - and re-sell them according to a community-driven plan developed by the Blackfoot Challenge, a collaborative group of local landowners.
The latest purchase includes portions of three sections of land near Patterson Prairie near Lincoln, with the bulk of the purchase - 3,260 acres - in the Nevada Creek area near Helmville.
The Blackfoot Challenge plan, developed with input from Helmville area residents, is for the Nevada Creek lands to go into private ownership. The idea is to consolidate the Conservancy-purchased parcels with adjoining ranches to sustain ranching and conservation in the area.
Landowners who have expressed an interest in purchasing these parcels are also interested in conservation agreements and keeping the land in ranching. Also, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, which owns the 740-acre Nevada Lake Wildlife Management Area, would consider holding and managing conservation easements on the lands. FWP would work to include walk-in public hunting access as part of the conservation easements.
"We feel we can achieve our objectives of providing winter habitat for elk and mule deer, and public access for hunting and other compatible recreation with private ownership. Basically, a conservation easement would maintain the traditional ranching operations, which have supported wildlife and hunting for many years," says Mike Thompson, wildlife biologist with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
"We want to keep these lands intact for ranching and allow the ranchers to expand their operations, while still maintaining the important wildlife habitat," says Jim Stone, chair of the Blackfoot Challenge and Ovando area rancher.
Because the land would be privately owned and managed, the landowners would pay taxes on the land and improvements.
The plan for the lands near Patterson Prairie is to re-sell them to adjacent public and private landowners.
The Blackfoot Challenge initiated the Blackfoot Community Project in the fall of 2002-beginning with community meetings from Helmville to Seeley Lake - as a proactive response to the anticipated sale of some Plum Creek timberlands in the Blackfoot watershed. As a result the Conservancy agreed to assume the financial risk of obtaining loans and purchasing the land.
"The local community continues to support this very ambitious project because it will preserve this area's rural character and unique wild lands for future generations," says Jim Stone.
The Blackfoot Challenge, comprised of local landowners, federal and state land managers, local government officials and corporate landowners, has been working in the Blackfoot Valley for 10 years to coordinate conservation efforts in the watershed.
The Nature Conservancy is a nonprofit conservation organization that conserves critical habitats for plants, animals and natural communities. Since 1979, the Conservancy's Montana chapter, based in Helena and with six community-based programs around the state, has worked with landowners to conserve over 481,360 acres of land in Montana.
Weyerhaeuser Closes Sale of 270,000 Acres in Georgia. PR Newswire, Sept 2, 2004.
Weyerhaeuser Company closed the sale of approximately 270,000 acres of timberlands in Georgia to four companies, officials announced today. The sale includes all Weyerhaeuser's owned commercial timberlands in Georgia. Weyerhaeuser will continue to manage a long-term timberland lease covering approximately 34,000 acres.
Terms of the individual agreements were not disclosed, but Weyerhaeuser said the sales totaled approximately $400 million. The company will use proceeds from the sales primarily for debt repayment.
The company now owns or manages approximately 6.5 million acres of timberland in the United States. Weyerhaeuser, one of the world's largest owners of merchantable softwood timber, added 1.7 million acres to its portfolio with the Willamette acquisition in 2002.
The purchasers of the timberland are Virginia Forest Investment LLC from Hogansville and Macon, Georgia; Georgia Fall Line Properties LLC from Greensboro, Georgia; Oaky Woods Properties LLC from Perry, Georgia; and Copper Station Holdings #3 from Beaufort, South Carolina. Weyerhaeuser will continue operating its nine facilities in Georgia.
Plum Creek Parcel Split At Auction, by Eijiro Kawada, [Tacoma WA] News Tribune, Aug 23, 2004.
Boise Cascade selling timber and paper assets, By Samantha Zee and James Gunsalus, Bloomberg News, Seattle Times, July 27, 2004.
Boise Cascade to sell Louisiana timberlands, By Ned Randolph, Baton Rouge Advocate, July 26, 2004.
After selling 78,000 acres of Louisiana timberland in a cost-cutting measure in April, Boise Cascade Corp. unveiled plans Monday to shed all of its remaining 2 million acres of timberland assets, and paper and forest products, which would affect 610,000 acres of Louisiana timberland and three mills.
The announced sale to private investment group, Madison Dearborn Partners LLC of Chicago, would raise $3.2 billion in cash for the Idaho-based company. The deal should be completed by November, Boise Cascade announced in a press release.
It was not known Monday morning what plans Madison Dearborn Partners had for the Louisiana parcels of land or mills in Florien, DeRidder and Oakdale. Calls to both companies had not been returned.
Pending the sale, Boise Cascade will change its name to OfficeMax, the office products retailer it bought a year ago for $1.2 billion in cash and stock.
The spin-off and name change marks the completion of the review of the company's future launched with the OfficeMax purchase, Boise Cascade chairman George Harad said Monday.
"The transaction we are announcing today will complete Boise's transformation, begun in the mid-1990s, from a predominantly manufacturing-based company to a world-scale distribution company," Harad said in the release. "... In the process, we will realize significant value for shareholders," he said.
Boise said it would realize about $3.1 billion to $3.2 billion in cash proceeds from the deal, after a $175 million reinvestment in Boise Cascade LLC and spending between $250 million to $300 million to reduce debt in the new OfficeMax.
Boise Cascade owns seven Office Solutions superstores in Louisiana, which will be renamed OfficeMax.
Boise Cascade stock spiked 6 percent before simmering down to a modest increase of under 2 percent or $33.51 a share, during morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Boise Announces Sale of Paper, Building Products, and Timberland Assets. Company news release, July 26, 2004.
"Boise Cascade Corporation announced today that it has reached a definitive agreement to sell its paper, forest products, and timberland assets for approximately $3.7 billion to affiliates of Boise Cascade, L.L.C., a new company formed by Madison Dearborn Partners LLC (MDP), a leading private equity investment firm located in Chicago, Illinois...
Following the transaction, Boise Cascade Corporation will change its company and trade name to OfficeMax, Inc. It will continue to operate its office products distribution business, which had annualized first half 2004 sales of $8.6 billion, as its principal business. Through debt retirement and repurchases, OfficeMax is expected to reduce its outstanding debt to between $250 million to $300 million and be well positioned for continued growth. It will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol OMX, and its corporate headquarters will be in Itasca, Illinois.
When the transaction is completed, George J. Harad, currently chairman and chief executive officer of Boise Cascade Corporation, will become executive chairman of the board of OfficeMax, Inc. Chris Milliken, currently division president and chief executive officer for Boise Office Solutions, will be elected president and chief executive officer of OfficeMax, Inc.
Boise will realize approximately $3.1 billion to $3.2 billion in cash proceeds after allowing for its $175 million reinvestment in Boise Cascade, L.L.C., and its affiliates, a retained interest in a timberland installment note, and certain transaction-related settlements. Boise currently expects to use approximately $2.2 billion to $2.3 billion of the net proceeds to pay down debt and other obligations and return the remaining $800 million to $1.0 billion of proceeds to shareholders through common and/or preferred stock buybacks, cash dividends, or a combination.
The transaction is expected to be completed by mid-November 2004. The acquiring company, Boise Cascade, L.L.C., will be privately held and headquartered in Boise, Idaho. Its chief executive officer will be W. Thomas Stephens, former president and chief executive officer of MacMillan Bloedel Ltd. and former chairman, chief executive officer, and president of Manville Corporation.
"In many respects, this transaction represents a return to Boise Cascade's traditional roots as a leader in the paper and forest products industry," said Mr. Stephens. "We will continue to operate under the Boise brand name, headquartered in Boise, Idaho, with a focus on operational excellence and delivering value to our customers."
Madison Dearborn Partners is one of the largest and most experienced private equity firms in the United States. MDP has approximately $8 billion of equity capital under management and makes new investments through its most recent fund, Madison Dearborn Capital Partners IV, L.P., a $4 billion investment fund raised in 2001.
MDP focuses on management buyout transitions and other private equity investments across a broad spectrum of industries including basic industries, communications, consumer, financial services, and healthcare. Over the last decade, MDP has been one of the most active global investors in the paper, packaging, and forest products sectors, having consummated approximately $11.7 billion of management buyout transactions over that period, including Buckeye Technologies Inc., Graphic Packaging International Corp. (formerly Riverwood International Corp.), Packaging Corporation of America, and Jefferson Smurfit Group, PLC...
Included in the sale are the Boise Cascade Corporation headquarters building in Boise, Idaho, and substantially all of the assets of:
Boise Building Solutions, a major producer of plywood, lumber, particleboard, and engineered wood products (laminated veneer lumber, wood I-joists, and laminated beams). Most of Boise's production is sold to independent wholesalers and dealers and through its own wholesale building materials distribution outlets. Boise manufactures wood products at 22 facilities in the United States, Canada, and Brazil. Boise's 27 wholesale building materials distribution facilities in the United States sell a wide range of building materials to retail lumber dealers, home centers specializing in the do-it-yourself market, and industrial customers. Boise Building Solutions' first half 2004 sales totaled $1.9 billion.
Boise Paper Solutions, a manufacturer of uncoated free sheet papers -- office papers, printing papers, forms bond, envelope papers, and value-added papers. Boise's value-added papers include security papers, specialty base stocks, financial printing papers, recycled papers, and laser and inkjet papers. Boise also produces containerboard and corrugated containers, newsprint, and market pulp. The division operates five pulp and paper mills, two paper converting facilities, six paper distribution centers, and five corrugated container plants in the United States. Boise Paper Solutions recorded first half 2004 sales of $1.0 billion.
Timberlands. Boise owns or controls approximately 2.3 million acres of timberland in the United States, 35,000 acres of eucalyptus plantation land in Brazil, and a 16,000-acre cottonwood fiber farm near Wallula, Washington..."
Boise Cascade selling timber assets for $3.2B. AP/USAToday.com, July 26, 2004. "Boise Cascade plans to sell its paper, forest products and timber assets to a private investment group for about $3.2 billion in cash. The company said Monday that the sale to a new company formed by Madison Dearborn Partners LLC, a Chicago investment firm, should be completed by November. Boise Cascade will change its name to OfficeMax, taking the name of the office products distributor it bought a year ago for $1.2 billion in cash and stock. The spinoff and name change marks the completion of a review of the company's future launched with the OfficeMax purchase, Boise Cascade chairman George Harad said Monday. "The transaction we are announcing today will complete Boise's transformation, begun in the mid-1990s, from a predominantly manufacturing-based company to a world-scale distribution company," Harad said. "... In the process, we will realize significant value for shareholders." Boise said it will realize about $3.1 billion to $3.2 billion in cash from the deal, after a $175 million reinvestment in Boise Cascade LLC and spending between $250 million to $300 million to reduce debt in the new OfficeMax.
Weyerhaeuser pays $900K in Johnsonburg, Pa., paper mill pollution case. US EPA news release, July 22, 2004. "Weyerhaeuser Company has settled alleged violations of federal and state air pollution control laws at its pulp and paper plant in northwestern Pennsylvania, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice announced today. In legal papers filed in federal court in Pittsburgh, the Washington state-based Weyerheauser Company has agreed to pay a $900,000 penalty and improve air pollution controls at its kraft pulp and paper mill in Johnsonburg, Elk County, Pa. This enforcement action began in April 1999, when EPA issued a Clean Air Act violation notice to former plant owner Willamette Industries, Inc. Weyerhaeuser acquired this plant in June 2002 after the company's merger with Williamette... The federal and state complaints, filed together with a proposed consent decree, alleged violations of the federal Clean Air Act and the Pennsylvania Air Pollution Control Act. Specifically, the U.S. and Pennsylvania alleged that Weyerhaeuser modified and operated two coal-fired power boilers without required upgrades to air pollution control equipment. The complaints also alleged that Weyerheauser failed to obtain required state-issued permits limiting sulfur dioxide emissions, and violated Clean Air Act standards applicable to fossil-fuel-fired steam generating units. As part of the settlement, Weyerhaeuser did not admit liability for the alleged violations. In the proposed consent decree, which is subject to a 30-day public comment period and court approval, Weyerhaeuser has agreed to pay a $900,000 penalty ($675,000 to the U.S. and $225,000 to Pennsylvania). In October 2003, the company completed installation of state-of-the-art sulfur dioxide (SO2) scrubbers on the plant's power boilers, at a cost of about $5.5 million. The consent decree requires Weyerhaeuser to operate these scrubbers in accordance with standards designed to reduce SO2 air emissions by up to 95 percent. Sulfur dioxide contributes to acid rain which destroys lakes, rivers, streams, and crops, and may aggravate existing respiratory diseases such as asthma and emphysema. In addition, sulfur compounds in the air contribute to impaired visibility July 22, 2004 in large parts of the country."
Weyerhaeuser Agrees to Sell Forest Land in Georgia for $404 Million. Associated Press, ABCNews.com, June 30, 2004. "Weyerhaeuser Co. announced an agreement Wednesday to sell about 304,000 acres of timber land in Georgia to four companies for a total of $404 million, the largest in a series of recent sales to reduce debt. Details of individual sales are being withheld until the deals close, probably in the third quarter of the year, according to a news release from Weyerhaeuser headquarters in this suburb between Seattle and Tacoma. The buyers are Virginia Forest Investment LLC of Hogansville and Macon, Ga.; Georgia Fall Line Properties LLC of Greensboro, Ga.; Southern Timber Consultants LLC of Perry, Ga., and Copper Station Holdings No. 3 of Beaufort, S.C. The land includes 270,000 acres owned by Weyerhaeuser and the company's interest in a long-term lease covering about 34,000 acres. The statement said Weyerhaeuser would retain nine other operations in Georgia. The company, which gained 1.7 million acres of U.S. timber land with the $8 billion acquisition of Willamette Industries in 2002, will own or manage about 6.5 million acres nationwide after the deals are completed. As of last fall Weyerhaeuser's debt load was about $12.7 billion. To reduce that figure, the company previously sold 346,000 acres of land that was acquired in the Willamette merger in Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina; more than 250,000 acres of forest in Washington state and Oregon, and a mill at Slave Lake, Alberta."
Timber giant hopes for negotiated settlement to softwood dispute, By Matthew Daly, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, June 12, 2004.
"Most U.S. timber companies were disappointed this month when the Commerce Department recommended that steep tariffs on imports of Canadian softwood lumber be cut in half. Lower tariffs would mean more imports and lower prices for U.S. products - an outcome U.S. companies have tried to avoid as they battle what they call a subsidized Canadian wood-products industry. But at least one American company welcomed the decision. Washington-state based Weyerhaeuser called the proposed tariff reduction "good news" and a sign that a resolution to the long-standing dispute over softwood lumber - easy-to-saw wood used in home-building - may finally be in sight. The company's atypical reaction stems from its unusual perspective on the cross-border dispute. While Weyerhaeuser is one of the largest U.S. producers of softwood lumber from pine, spruce and other trees, it also is a major producer of Canadian lumber: About one-third of its annual production comes from north of the border. Weyerhaeuser operates on nearly 35 million acres in five Canadian provinces, producing about 2.4 billion board feet of lumber a year...
IWA, Steelworkers reach tenative merger, Kamloops This Week, June 2004.
"Unionized Weyer haeuser employees in Kamloops could soon belong to Canada's largest private-sector union. Last week, members of the Industrial, Wood and Allied Workers of Canada (IWA) reached a tentative merger agreement with the United Steelworkers of America. The merger would join IWA's 55,000 members with 190,000 Canadian steelworkers creating the largest private-sector union in the country. Members of IWA Local 1-417, the local which represents Weyerhaeuser in Kamloops as well as Aspen Planers in Merritt, Ainsworth Lumber in Savona and Tolko Industries in Merritt and Heffley Creek, will vote on whether or not to accept the proposed merger. Al Bowerman, financial secretary with Local 1-417, said the local was going through the proposed merger document and would bring the vote to membership sometime in July or August."
Weyerhaeuser loses in Portland. Portland Business Journal, May 24, 2004.
"Weyerhaeuser Co. lost an antitrust case in Portland last week as a jury awarded damages of $5.3 million to smaller competitor Washington Alder, which claimed the Federal Way, Wash., company monopolized the alder market in the Northwest. The damages will triple to $15.8 million before taxes. Weyerhaeuser (NYSE: WY) said it will appeal the verdict. But the company also said it will take an after-tax charge of about $10.5 million, or 4 cents per share, in the second quarter. The jury determined Weyerhaeuser monopolized the alder market from June 1999 to December 2001. The jury found in Weyerhaeuser's favor regarding monopolization of the alder market after December 2001. Last month, Weyerhaeuser settled an antitrust suit filed by Coast Mountain Hardwoods in U.S. District Court in Portland for $14 million. "We believe that the monopolization issues will ultimately be decided in favor of Weyerhaeuser and that this verdict and the earlier one will be reversed on appeal," said Robert Dowdy, Weyerhaeuser senior vice president and general counsel, in a statement."
Jury awards nearly $5.3 million against Weyerhaeuser. Associated Press, May 21, 2004. Portland, Ore.
Blackfoot group secures second land buy. By Sherry Devlin, Missoulian, May 19, 2004.
"Intent on preserving their ranching heritage and wide open spaces, Blackfoot Valley landowners bought another 19,883 acres of commercial timberland Tuesday. Brokered by The Nature Conservancy and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the $14.9 million purchase included irreplaceable deer and elk winter range and heavily timbered grizzly bear habitat. Tuesday's was the second of three purchases planned this year by the Blackfoot Challenge and designed to protect 42,927 acres of Plum Creek Timber Co. land from subdivision and development. Eventually, the landowner group hopes to buy all of Plum Creek's mid-elevation timberland between Clearwater Junction and Rogers Pass, north and south of Highway 200 - more than 80,000 acres. "This is the heritage of the Blackfoot Valley," said Jim Stone, an Ovando rancher and chairman of the Blackfoot Challenge. "People want to see these lands managed in a way that maintains the valley's tradition of ranching, forestry, wildlife and public access." While their goals are simple, the details of the ranchers' plan is complex. Acting on behalf of the valley, The Nature Conservancy actually bought the land from Plum Creek and will hold it while residents agree on a resell plan. Some of the property will go to state and federal land management agencies, assuring public access, habitat protection and some continued timber cutting. Other parcels will be sold to ranchers with adjoining land - as long as the buyers agree to keep the land largely undeveloped. Always, Stone said, buyers must agree to manage the land "in a way that supports the community's rural and conservation values." Tuesday's deal includes 3,835 acres that will eventually go to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks - and will consolidate ownership of the Blackfoot-Clearwater Wildlife Management Area. The Nature Conservancy will first sell the acreage to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, which will hold it until FWP receives $3.3 million earmarked for the project in the federal government's 2005 budget. "Lots of people have worked a long time to see this day," said Mike Thompson, a wildlife biologist for Montana FWP. "It's a great day for the wildlife of Montana." More than 1,000 elk spend winters on the Blackfoot-Clearwater game range, Montana's largest state-owned property dedicated for use as wildlife habitat. Thompson said FWP hopes to have the money needed to buy the land from the Elk Foundation by fall. Also included in the new purchase are 7,659 acres of grizzly bear habitat along the Continental Divide in the Alice Creek drainage. Grizzlies and elk pass through the drainage as they travel south out of the Scapegoat and Bob Marshall wilderness areas. Were Alice Creek developed, the animals would be isolated in the wilderness. Jamie Williams, state director of The Nature Conservancy, said the next round of purchases will include about 4,600 acres in the Marcum Mountain and Nevada Creek areas, and is expected to be complete in mid-August. Meanwhile, the Blackfoot Challenge will work on the disposition of lands purchased in January and, now, on Tuesday. Stone said one of the highest priorities is protection of Ovando Mountain, a landmark in the center of the Blackfoot Valley. Already, he said, residents have said they want it set aside as a "community-managed conservation area." The first round of purchases last winter included 9,629 acres on the lower slopes of Ovando Mountain. "This project has been inspired by some amazing community leaders who have a long history of conservation in the valley," said Williams. "We're honored to support them." Added Stone, "This project is an amazing undertaking for us and our partners, one that is consuming thousands of hours in planning and community meetings. We're pleased at the high level of community involvement." Cooperation and neighborliness are also part of the valley's heritage, Stone said, so the Blackfoot Challenge has a strong foundation on which to build. "Instead of focusing on our own ranch or our own family, we thought it was important to look toward the future as a community and try to create something long-lasting here," he said. "It looks like we may just succeed."
Last Piece of Game Range Puzzle Saved. Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation news release, May 18, 2004.
"The last large parcel of private land within the Blackfoot Clearwater Wildlife Management Area (WMA) took a giant step toward public ownership today. Working with the Blackfoot Challenge, a landowner-based watershed organization, The Nature Conservancy of Montana and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP), the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation completed the purchase of 3,835 acres of land previously owned by the Plum Creek Timber Company for $3.3 million. The land will be offered to FWP for the same price. "Lots of people have worked for a long time to see this day," said Mike Thompson, wildlife biologist with the FWP. "This is a great opportunity for wildlife in Montana." The WMA is Montana's largest state-owned property dedicated to wildlife habitat, and it represents one of Montana's first efforts to match big game habitat preservation to the critical winter ranges of elk, deer and other wildlife. The state established the WMA in 1948 with the purchase of the 10,936-acre Boyd Ranch. The WMA now includes 67,000 acres. Today's acquisition represents the final step in securing the future of this long-term investment by the state and people of Montana "The Elk Foundation is pleased to be a part of this effort spearheaded by the Blackfoot Challenge and The Nature Conservancy and supported by Montana's congressional delegation. Senator Conrad Burns, chair of the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee is helping the Blackfoot Challenge secure funding for portions of the project. This project demonstrates the power of partnerships and establishes a positive vision for the future," said Peter J. Dart, Elk Foundation president and CEO "This transaction is an important contribution to maintaining the rural character and natural resources of the Blackfoot Valley," said Jim Stone, a rancher from Ovando and chair of the Blackfoot Challenge. This final purchase on behalf of the WMA is a spin-off of the much larger effort by The Nature Conservancy in which TNC is acquiring 42,000 acres of Plum Creek lands in the valley this year. After closing today on 19,833 acres in the second round of Plum Creek land purchases, the Conservancy immediately resold the 3,835 acres of WMA inholdings to RMEF, which will hold the land until Montana FWP receives funding and approval to purchase them. As of today, the Conservancy has acquired 38,300 acres of Plum Creek lands in the valley, and will hold them temporarily until the Blackfoot Challenge and local communities finalize plans for their eventual resale. This is the third acquisition in which the Elk Foundation participated on behalf of the WMA. In 1999, RMEF assisted in the acquisition of a key 333-acre parcel for $422,000. In 2000, RMEF assisted the state in the purchase of another 523 acres for $677,000. By the time RMEF gifted these lands to the State of Montana, its contribution to conservation in the WMA exceeded $800,000. Over 1,000 elk currently winter every year on this crucial winter range. It also provides winter range for elk coming out of the Bob Marshall Wilderness. In 2004, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. Founded and headquartered in Montana, the organization has grown and evolved into an international conservation leader. Powered by volunteers, members, supporters and partners, the Elk Foundation has completed more than 3,800 conservation and education projects, impacting nearly 4 million acres of habitat for elk and other wildlife."
Weyerhaeuser sued for $100M. Portland Business Journal, May 7, 2004.
Elementary Students Ask Logging Giant To Stop Destroying Old Growth Forests. Seattle-area Labor Unions Pass Resolutions Supporting "Weyerhaeuser 9." Rainforeast Action Network News Release, April 30, 2004.
"At twelve noon today, local Seattle high school students will hand deliver 2000 letters addressed to Weyerhaeuser CEO Steve Rogel asking him to stop destroying old-growth forests around the world. The letters, written by elementary school students from 23 states and four countries, are part of "Wake Up Weyerhaeuser," an international grassroots campaign to transform the barbaric environmental practices of Washington-based logging giant Weyerhaeuser, the number one destroyer of old-growth forests in North America. The student letter-drive follows the passage of resolutions by Seattle-area labor unions demanding that King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng drop the felony charges against the "Weyerhaeuser 9." King County Labor Council, Washington State Jobs with Justice, Pierce County Central Labor Council, Carpenters Local 131 and SPEEA, the Boeing Engineers Union, passed the resolution. Sample copies of student letters and text of labor union resolutions are available upon request. Earth's forests are in a state of crisis and Americans prefer environmental protection: 80 percent of the world's intact old-growth forests have been destroyed or degraded, much within recent decades (World Resources Institute). Only 4 percent of U.S. old-growth forests remain intact (Native Forests Council). At least 37.5 million acres of forest are destroyed annually (United Nations). 70 percent of Americans say they prefer to purchase from companies with environmentally ethical practices (American Demographics). 9 in 10 Americans favor wilderness protection (Los Angeles Times)."
Weyerhaeuser Settles Another Alder Suit. Portland business Journal, April 22, 2004.
Weyerhaeuser shareholders favor annual board election. By Bill Virgin, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, April 14, 2004.
"A majority of Weyerhaeuser Co. shareholders have endorsed annual election of all the company's directors, but not enough voted for the idea to put it into effect at the forest products company. At an annual meeting marked more by discussions of environmental and corporate-governance issues than the company's financial prospects, shareholders also endorsed, in an advisory vote, the expensing of options on the income statement, something the company says it will do once uniform accounting rules are adopted. While the company found itself the target of vocal and sometimes contentious criticism, both inside and outside the meeting, on its environmental practices, shareholders as a whole were much less receptive to two shareholder proposals on the subject.... Two environmental proposals fared even worse. A proposal calling for more detailed reporting on greenhouse gas reduction, state and federal environmental fines and forest sustainability certification received just 6 percent of the shares voted, while a proposal seeking a ban on harvests from old-growth and endangered forests received just 4 percent. The old-growth/endangered-forest issue was a significant presence at yesterday's meeting, which featured a heightened presence of police officers around Weyerhaeuser's headquarters campus. The Rainforest Action Network took out full-page newspaper ads and held a demonstration near Weyerhaeuser's headquarters building yesterday... Rogel and Weyerhaeuser were blasted during the question-and-answer session, which featured not a single query about the company's financial performance. Instead the questions focused on Weyerhaeuser's environmental record... Asked after the meeting if the strong feelings on such issues precluded any resolution, Rogel said he doesn't think so. Other forest debates such as the one involving the spotted owl have been emotional and "we've always been able to reach consensus," he said. "Some groups either don't understand or don't accept that to reach a consensus takes time, takes negotiation, takes science."..."
Company must give workers back pay. By Jake Bleed, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, April 9, 2004.
Weyerhaeuser Still Selling Assets. By Eric Engleman, Puget Sound Business Journal, March 12, 2004.
Weyerhaeuser Settles Suit Over Alder. By Allison Linn, Associated Press, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, March 10, 2004.
Plum Creek Earns National Recognition for Conservation Leadership. Company news release, Business Wire, March 8, 2004
"The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) recently honored Plum Creek (NYSE:PCL) with its 2003 Business Conservation Leadership Award. Charles Holmes, chairman of NACD's Forest Resources Committee, presented the award at the organization's 58th Annual Meeting in February. "Plum Creek is recognized as a national leader in the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® program and demonstrates its environmental commitment on its own property," said Charles Holmes, chairman of NACD's Forest Resources Committee. "It was one of the first companies to voluntarily identify unique sites on its properties that are protected for their biological, historical and physical treasures. The company maintains a strong working relationship with the conservation districts in counties where it owns land." "Plum Creek is pleased to receive this recognition for our conservation efforts," said Rick Holley, president and chief executive officer. "We're proud of the relationship that we've established with the NACD and pleased to have Plum Creek employees serving on its Forest Resources Committee and district boards." Each year, NACD recognizes a business that has planned and carried out impressive land, water and related resource management practices on its property in cooperation with a local conservation district, or has provided financial, personal or other assistance to a district, state or national conservation program..."
Weyerhaeuser Selling Three Mills in Southeast: Two Were Acquired in Willamette Industries Purchase. Bend.com, March 5, 2004."Weyerhaeuser Company announced Thursday that it intends to sell three wood products mills: -- A plywood and lumber complex in Chester, S.C., with the capacity to produce 240 million square feet of plywood and 45 million board feet of lumber a year. The complex employs 330 people. -- A hardwood plywood mill in Moncure, N.C., with the capacity to produce115 million square feet of hardwood plywood for use primarily in the production of furniture. The plant employs 200 people. -- A lumber mill in Barnesville, Ga., with the capacity to produce 140 million board feet of lumber. The facility employs 80 people. The company will continue to operate the mills as prospective buyers are sought. "These are good mills," said William R. Corbin, executive vice president, Wood Products. "However, they do not match Weyerhaeuser's business strategies, and we believe they will have a better strategic value to a new owner." The intention to sell the mills does not reflect on the efforts of their employees, Corbin said. "The employees at these three facilities have a strong commitment to safely making these mills run well and meeting customer needs," Corbin said. "Their excellence and records of workplace safety will help demonstrate the mills' viability to prospective new owners." Weyerhaeuser acquired the Carolina mills when it purchased Willamette Industries in 2001. Barnesville was acquired from Procter & Gamble Co. in 1992. Weyerhaeuser employs 5,000 people in the Carolinas, where it manages 552,000 acres of forestland and more than 15 operations. In Georgia, the company employs 1,700 in nine facilities and owns 320,000 acres of timberlands."
Plum Creek to Sell Coalbed Methane Working Interest, Reports Progress on Sale of Non-Strategic Timberlands. Company news release, Business Wire, March 1, 2004.
Weyerhaeuser Plans To Sell 2 Mills In Saskatchewan. Dow Jones, Feb 26, 2004.
Weyerhaeuser To Sell Two Saskatchewan Mills. Reuters, Feb 26, 2004.
Weyerhaeuser Announces Intent to Sell Carrot River Lumber, Hudson Bay Plywood Mills. PR Newswire, Feb 26, 2004.
Weyerhaeuser to Sell 300,000 Acres of Forest in Georgia. Associated Press, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Feb 20, 2004.
"Weyerhaeuser plans to sell about 300,000 acres of forest in Georgia, the latest in a series of sales to reduce debt since the acquisition of Willamette Industries, the company announced Friday. Weyerhaeuser owns or manages about 7.5 million acres of commercial forest lands in the United States and Canada, including 1.7 million acres that was added in the $8 billion Willamette takeover in 2001, said Jack P. Taylor Jr., a senior vice president. "After careful review, we are looking for an opportunity to balance our portfolio by exploring the sale of our Georgia timber lands," Taylor said in a news release. The 17 workers affected by the sale will be given an opportunity to seek jobs in other Weyerhaeuser operations, and those that are released will be given severance pay and assistance in finding other work, according to the release. The Georgia sale plan follows decisions to sell 346,000 acres of timber land that was acquired in the Willamette merger in Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. The company also sold more than 250,000 acres of forest in Washington state and Oregon. Last month Weyerhaeuser also agreed to sell an oriented strand board mill at Slave Lake, Alberta, for $43 million. The company's debt load as of last fall was about $12.7 billion."
Old-growth Activists Target Weyerhaeuser; 5 Arrested, By Craig Welch and J. Patrick Coolican, Seattle Times, Feb 20, 2004.
"Forest activists who helped persuade building giants Home Depot and Lowe's to stop buying products made of wood from some old-growth forests have set their sights on a new target in Seattle's back yard: Weyerhaeuser. Citing a breakdown in talks with the Federal Way timber giant over its forest practices - primarily in Canada - a group of environmental activists climbed a construction crane in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood for five hours yesterday, hanging a 50-by-50-foot banner that read: "Wake up Weyerhaeuser, Protect Forests Now." The Rainforest Action Network, based in San Francisco, and the Forest Action Network, based in Canada, claimed responsibility for the spectacle, which led to the arrests of the five women on suspicion of reckless endangerment and criminal trespass, both misdemeanors, police said. The environmental groups have been in talks with Weyerhaeuser since September, trying to persuade the company to stop cutting down trees in parts of Canada that never have been logged. The move is the first in a campaign that, based on earlier crusades, could include boycotts of Weyerhaeuser customers. "They haven't moved off the dime - they're talking to us as if it were still the mid-1980s and they didn't have to respond, but the reality is the market has changed," said Michael Brune, executive director of the Rainforest group. "In the public consciousness, old-growth forests are now as fundamental as baseball, apple pie and Derek Jeter. Areas that have escaped industrial logging to date should remain off-limits." But Weyerhaeuser officials, who were caught off-guard by the display, said they've been working with environmental groups across Canada to set aside sensitive lands there. They said negotiating operational changes takes time. Company officials also said they're proud of their environmental track record. "We were surprised today by their aggressive actions in light of our recent discussions," said Weyerhaeuser spokesman Frank Mendizabal. "We're not going to be intimidated by groups making erroneous claims about our practices. Actions like today do not help in establishing trust." Weyerhaeuser holds logging rights on lands in Canada nearly the size of New York. Worldwide, it has operations in 18 countries, and buys and sells many wood products from trees it doesn't cut down itself. Greg Higgs, of the Forest Action Network, said Weyerhaeuser is logging vast tracts of old-growth forest every year, much of it in Canada. "We all have a vested interest in the world's forests," Higgs said. The Rainforest Action Network is behind a wave of environmental activism that combines civil disobedience and protest with aggressive free-market campaigns to try to force changes in the forest-products industry. They hang banners and disrupt business, while conducting behind-the-scenes negotiations, urging companies - including financiers such as Citigroup - to only do business with companies that follow guidelines for environmentally friendly forest practices. Four years ago, after the group took its issues to building-supply companies Home Depot and Lowe's, the companies agreed to phase out purchase of products from "endangered" forests such as British Columbia's so-called Great Bear Rainforest and give preference to wood certified as sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council - an independent auditing organization favored by environmentalists. Company officials from Lowe's, for example, visited the Northwest and Canada to get a firsthand look at forest practices. Last fall, Boise Cascade became the first large U.S. timber company to accede to some of the Rainforest Action Network's requests, agreeing to work to protect forests in Chile, Indonesia and elsewhere, and no longer log old-growth timber on public lands in the United States. Yesterday, in a letter to Weyerhaeuser's chief executive officer, Brune applauded the company's work to help protect 2.4 million acres in the Great Bear Rainforest, along the north and central coast of British Columbia. He expressed regret that the company still logs in otherwise untouched areas of Canada and imports products from around the world from areas it considers "endangered." It called for a complete and immediate moratorium on logging in so-called first-growth forests, forestland that has never been commercially logged. Mendizabal, however, said Brune's group was misinterpreting the company's record, and said no such moratorium would take place. Weyerhaeuser has worked with environmentalists and the B.C. government on agreements to make wildlife habitat and acres of old-growth off-limits to logging, while continuing to log first-growth trees. Its forestry practices are certified under an independent auditing system favored by the timber industry, but the company is working to build international certification standards. The company also said it supports some conservation measures in Canada's northern and inland forests. It is also working on a long-term initiative, but that takes time, Mendizabal said. "We're working on these things," Mendizabal said. "We were hopeful that we were on a path to help (the Rainforest Action Network) understand our environmental stewardship. Now we have to decide if we're willing to continue those discussions with this group."
Construction crane used for environmental protest. The banner read: "Wake up Weyerhaeuser. Protect Forests Now." KING 5 TV, February 19, 2004.
Environmentalists Rapel Off Crane to Protest Old-Growth Logging. Associated Press, February 19, 2004.
Weyerhaeuser On Defense In Antitrust Trials, By Bradley Meacham and Hal Bernton, Seattle Times, Feb 12, 2004.
"Weyerhaeuser faces a busy spring in U.S. District Court here as it fends off allegations in three separate trials that it illegally monopolized wood markets across the Northwest. The plaintiffs are small sawmills and lumber companies that claim Weyerhaeuser violated federal law by squeezing them out of the market for alder, a hardwood used for expensive furniture, cabinets and Fender guitars. They want the court to force the company to sell some assets and pay damages totaling more than $300 million, an amount surpassing Weyerhaeuser's 2003 profit. The high-stakes trials --two next month involving five plaintiffs and a third in May with another plaintiff -- are the latest in the Federal Way company's struggle to defend its role in the alder market, where it controls most of the production in the Northwest. Weyerhaeuser sought to postpone the trials until fall and extend the timetable for several months. But U.S. District Court Judge Owen Panner refused and said each trial could likely be completed in nine days or less... Though alder represents a small fraction of Weyerhaeuser's business, the trials have potentially broad implications for the company, which acquired smaller rivals to strengthen its position in a rapidly consolidating global industry. The world's largest lumber company controls about 75 percent of the $400 million Northwest alder industry, which employs about 6,000 people in Washington and Oregon. The trials are scheduled to begin less than a year after a Portland jury found that Weyerhaeuser violated federal law by using monopoly power to manipulate the alder market. It ordered damages - trebled under antitrust law - of $79 million to Ross-Simmons Hardwood, the owner of a Longview sawmill that closed in May 2001. The jury agreed Weyerhaeuser deliberately bid up the price of alder logs to force rivals out of business, tied up log supplies through long-term, exclusive contracts and bought logs it didn't need to deprive rivals of wood supply... Elsewhere, Weyerhaeuser has a win on the antitrust front. In December, the state of Oregon denied a request by a group of sawmills to bar the timber giant from buying alder logged in state-owned forests. The group had contended Weyerhaeuser could kill off small mills by paying high prices for alder, and eventually underbid the rest of the market, lowering the state's proceeds from its wood sales. Oregon agreed with Weyerhaeuser's contention that it generates revenue and jobs for the state and said that allowing the company to buy state wood doesn't hinder competition... In the upcoming trial, Weyerhaeuser cannot contest the existence of a monopoly - at least through 2001 - which it maintained through anti-competitive conduct, Panner wrote. The plaintiffs, however, must prove antitrust injury and that Weyerhaeuser maintained a monopoly through 2002, he wrote. The trial results from a lawsuit filed by four mills: Cascade Hardwoods of Chehalis; Alexander Lumber Mill of Onalaska, Lewis County; and Oregon's Westwood Lumber and Morton Alder Mills. A second lawsuit was filed by Coast Mountain Hardwoods, which operated a sawmill in Delta, B.C., until Weyerhaeuser acquired it in September 2000. The suit alleges Weyerhaeuser illegally kept Coast Mountain in a weak financial position so that it could be acquired. That trial is to begin around March 23. Another trial including Washington Alder of Mount Vernon is scheduled for May. "
Blackfoot Land Deal In Motion, by Eve Byron, Helena Independent Record, Feb 4, 2004.
"The Nature Conservancy has purchased 18,400 acres from Plum Creek Timber in the Blackfoot River Valley for $13.8 million, completing the first installment of a three-stage project designed to protect the area from overdevelopment. As part of what eventually will be a $30 million deal covering 41,588 acres, the Nature Conservancy and Plum Creek closed last Friday on the sale for portions of Ovando Mountain, Monture Creek West, Bear Creek, Tupper Lakes and Marcum Mountain. The Conservancy plans to hold title to the lands temporarily while the Blackfoot Challenge - a local landowner group - works out a community-based plan for the resale of the property to public and private entities. The plan, put together with input from area residents, will include measures to protect conservation and community values on the properties... Some of the properties purchased Friday may be sold to the Bureau of Land Management or the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, since these agencies own adjacent lands and there is a desire for continued public access to them. Some of the other parcels will be sold to private buyers, but will come with conservation easements and other restrictions attached to ensure that while houses may be built upon some of the parcels, the vast majority of the land will not be subdivided and turned into million dollar ranchettes... The second part of the land purchase is expected to take place in May. Tana Kappel, spokeswoman for the Nature Conservancy, said that installment will cover 19,883 acres, including parcels within the Blackfoot Clearwater Wildlife Management Area. Kappel said she's not sure when the third purchase will take place... The total $30 million deal is the Nature Conservancy's largest project in Montana, and among the largest in the Conservancy's 52-year history. The Virginia-based conservation group also has an option to purchase another 46,640 acres from Plum Creek for about $38 million if all goes well with this project. "It's a pretty complex situation, so we want to get the first 41,000 acres closed on before we exercise our option on the other parcel," Kappel said. Friday's closing is the most recent land transaction for Plum Creek, which owns 1.4 million acres in Montana, including an additional 194,000 acres in the Blackfoot Valley. As Plum Creek's acreage is being cleared of timber, instead of waiting for trees to grow back, the company is selling off some of its logged land at prime residential prices. When the sale first was announced, Plum Creek officials said they recognize that the Blackfoot River Valley is a special place, which is why they sold the Nature Conservancy 11,700 acres there in 1996 and were pleased to work with the conservation group and Blackfoot Challenge to facilitate the recent sale."
Frontier Resources Acquires Boise's Yakima Mills. Company news release, Jan 21, 2004.
"Boise Cascade announced today that it has reached agreement for the sale of its Yakima, Washington, plywood plant and sawmill complex to Frontier Resources, LLC, of Eugene, Oregon... Boise will retain ownership of its approximately 200,000 acres of central Washington timberlands and will continue to manage those holdings under the company's forestry programs and environmental policies.
[Plum Creek To Sell Timberland] SEC Form 8K, January 22, 2004.
State Considers Clearwater Easement, Missoulian, Jan 2, 2004.
More than 6,000 acres of key elk and deer winter range in the heart of the Blackfoot-Clearwater Wildlife Management Area would be protected under a conservation easement proposed by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. FWP would purcha...
Potlatch Corp. Marks Company's Centennial, Associated Press, Times-News (Potlatch Idaho), January 17, 2004.
"When Frederick Weyerhaeuser died in 1914, his wealth rivaled the Rockefellers. Yet outside lumber towns, few people knew his name. The Weyerhaeusers have always been quiet about their wealth, says Keith Petersen, author of the book "Company Town: Potlatch, Idaho and the Potlatch Lumber Co." In the early 1900s Weyerhaeuser, his relatives and friends founded three lumber companies in the West. One is the company based in Tacoma with the family name. Another is Boise Cascade. The third, and the one the Weyerhaeusers believed would prosper most, Petersen said, was at Potlatch, Idaho. Weyerhaeuser got his start logging in the Great Lakes region, but that was before sustainable logging practices, Petersen said. When those supplies were exhausted, he began looking for new resources. Idaho's forests harbored the greatest remaining stands of white pine in the country. The wood was considered to make the best quality lumber and had buoyancy that helped float the logs down streams in the days before highways. The arrival of the Weyerhaeusers in the state was possibly as significant as the discovery of gold, Petersen said. Once Weyerhaeuser made the decision to come West, other owners of large lumber mills followed, Petersen said. Smaller lumber mills often couldn't compete with the giants in their backyards, who had capital to develop specialized products, Petersen said. Potlatch, for example, made kit homes that came with precut lumber and plans, Petersen said. Many still stand today. "There was not much room for little guys once the Weyerhaeusers came out," he said. "There were a lot of small mills that went belly up really fast." But by Weyerhaeuser's death, the prospects for the mill at Potlatch already had dimmed, Petersen said. The region where the white pines grew had few streams suitable for log drives. To transport logs, Potlatch had to build an expensive network of railroads. Manufacturers discovered the Douglas fir that dominated the forests of the West Coast had many of the same qualities of white pine. When the Panama Canal opened in 1914, it was less expensive to ship Idaho lumber to the East Coast rather than move it by rail. In spite of the initial setbacks, Potlatch has survived 100 years, introducing new products and phasing out old ones. Its history includes the founding of Potlatch, which functioned as a company town until the 1950s. It was one of the largest, longest-surviving company towns in the West, Petersen said. Today the company is the largest private landholder in Idaho and the biggest employer in the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley. The Lewiston site alone employs about 2,000 workers. Potlatch also operates in Minnesota, Arkansas and Las Vegas, where it is constructing a new paper towel mill."
Canada Rejects Lumber Quotas, Tacoma (WA) News Tribune, Jan 13, 2004.
Canada on Monday turned down a U.S. proposal aimed at ending steep tariffs on Canadian lumber imports. Provincial governments opposed the deal, which would have dropped the tariffs in exchange for a quota system limiting Canada's access to the U.S. market. The world's largest lumber company, Weyerhaeuser Co., based in Federal Way, has lobbied for a resolution to the long-running dispute. With timber operations on both sides of the border, Weyerhaeuser is caught in the middle - paying out millions in duties but also feeling the impact of lower U.S. wood prices... The Federal Way-based company, which has lumber operations in both U.S. and Canada, paid $64 million in duties in 2002 on wood it exported from Canada..."
Workers Get Payoffs in [Weyerhaeuser] Asbestos Lawsuits, By Anne Saker, News & Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina), Jan 12, 2004.
"Weyerhaeuser settles exposure cases, ending a legal battle that included tales of 'snowstorms' of fibers in the workplace. In one of the largest workers' compensation settlements in state history, Weyerhaeuser Co. has paid millions of dollars to more than 400 employees and retirees of its paper mill in Plymouth who developed permanent health problems after decades of exposure to asbestos. The settlement, completed last month, ends years of struggle in the N.C. Industrial Commission between the timber giant and the workers, some of whom spent as many as 40 years at the Plymouth factory... Commission Chairman Buck Lattimore said Tuesday that he thinks the only settlement larger than Weyerhaeuser's is one with Duke Energy Co., which closed about 600 cases. In 1999, while those cases were being litigated, Duke Energy pledged $800 million to cover asbestos claims in all legal venues... By law, settlements in workers' compensation cases are not public records, and Lattimore and other Industrial Commission officials refused to release details. But the full commission had already granted awards in about 75 cases, ranging from about $36,000 to more than $200,000, including penalties and interest. If the approximately 425 total cases at Plymouth settled for similar amounts, a conservative estimate of the total approaches $20 million..."
Pope Resources Buys Plum Creek Timberland, Puget Sound Business Journal, December 24, 2003.
Potlatch Names William L. Driscoll to Its Board of Directors. Business Wire, Dec 19, 2003.
Weyerhaeuser Unloads More Timberland, Home Channel News, Dec 15, 2003. "Weyerhaeuser has announced its intention to sell approximately 160,000 acres of timberlands to Forest Investment Associates. The transaction involves land in western North Carolina and South Carolina. Based in Atlanta, Forest Investment Associates manages timberland portfolios for major corporate pension plans, state and municipal retirement systems, charitable trusts and endowment funds. Earlier this week, Weyerhaeuser closed a deal on 168,000 acres of Tennessee timberland, which it sold to Fountain Investments Inc. Proceeds will total approximately $70 million. After-tax proceeds from the Carolinas sale will net $140 million. The company said it will use these funds to retire debt. Weyerhaeuser added 1.7 million acres of timberland to its portfolio when it acquired Willamette Industries of Portland, Ore."
Weyerhaeuser Selling Properties in Carolinas, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Dec 13, 2003. Weyerhaeuser Co. agreed to sell 160,000 acres of timberland in western North Carolina and South Carolina to Forest Investment Associates LP for about $140 million to repay debt. The sale is expected to close by Wednesday, Weyerhaeuser said in a release. Atlanta-based Forest Investments is a closely held company that manages land and timber investments for pension plans and trusts. Weyerhaeuser had long-term debt of $12.1 billion at the end of September, its most recent earnings statement showed. The company said earlier this year it would sell 344,000 acres in Tennessee and the Carolinas and use the money to trim debt, which swelled after it acquired Willamette Industries."
Weyerhaeuser Announces Sale of 160,000 Acres in Carolinas to Forest Investment Associates L.P.Company news release, Dec 12, 2003. "Weyerhaeuser Company will sell approximately 160,000 acres of timberlands in western North Carolina and South Carolina to Forest Investment Associates L.P., the two companies announced jointly today. Weyerhaeuser will use after-tax proceeds totaling approximately $140 million for debt repayment. The sale is expected to close by Dec. 17. Earlier this year, Weyerhaeuser announced its intention to sell approximately 344,000 acres of timberlands in Tennessee and western North and South Carolina. The Tennessee sale closed Dec. 5. Weyerhaeuser, one of the world's largest owners of merchantable softwood timber, added 1.7 million acres to its portfolio with the Willamette acquisition. The company now owns or manages approximately 7 million acres in the United States. Forest Investment Associates L.P., based in Atlanta, Ga., manages timberland portfolios for major corporate pension plans, state and municipal retirement systems, charitable trusts and endowment funds. Weyerhaeuser remains committed to its businesses and operating communities in North and South Carolina. Following the sale, Weyerhaeuser will own or manage approximately 552,000 acres of timberland and 19 operations in North Carolina and operate nine facilities in South Carolina."
Weyerhaeuser Finalizes Tennessee Timberlands Sale. Company news release, Dec 8, 2003. "Weyerhaeuser Company today announced the completion of the previously announced sale of 168,000 acres of timberlands in west-central Tennessee to Fountain Investments Inc. Weyerhaeuser will use after-tax proceeds totaling approximately $70 million for debt repayment. Weyerhaeuser remains committed to its businesses and operating communities in Tennessee and continues to operate 10 facilities in the state."
Many Analysts Expect [Boise Cascade] Firm To Shed Lumber, Paper Divisions, by Ken Dey, Idaho Statesman, Dec 15, 2003.
Boise Cascade expects merger to boost cash flow CEO George Harad calls lowering debt the first priority and won't say whether headquarters will stay in Idaho. By by Ken Dey, Idaho Statesman, Dec 15, 2003.
Boise Shareholders Approve OfficeMax Acquisition. Boise cascade news release, Dec 9, 2003.
Sawmills Still At Loggerheads With Weyerhaeuser After Win. Seattle Times, Dec 3, 2003. "The owners of several small sawmills vowed to continue their fight against Weyerhaeuser over allegedly monopolistic business practices, despite a government decision in the company's..."
Canada's Forest Deal Could Change Weyerhaeuser's Ways. Seattle Times, Dec 2, 2003. "Canadians took a major step to protect vast stretches of their northern forest yesterday, a move that could pressure Weyerhaeuser to adopt new environmental safeguards for millions..."
$5 Million to Aid Forest Land Swap. Associated Press, Seattle Times, Dec 1, 2003. "Congress has provided $5 million to preserve a forested corridor east of Seattle. The money, secured by Democratic U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, will supplement a 1999 land exchange between the U.S. Forest Service and Plum Creek Timber Co. Under that deal, Plum Creek ceded 31,000 acres of land to the national forest system in exchange for 12,000 acres from the Wenatchee, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie and Gifford Pinchot national forests. The new money will be used to buy timberland in Kittitas County that had been left out of the deal with Plum Creek. The money marks one of the last steps in a campaign to consolidate a checkerboard pattern of private timberlands and national forests along Interstate 90. But some of the last stands of old growth in the West are in the checkerboard parcels retained by the federal government, said Janine Blaeloch, director of the Western Land Exchange Project. "Theoretically, it's a great idea," said Blaeloch, whose group lobbies to reform federal land-exchange policies. "The problem is most of the native forest and old-growth forest that we have left is in those checkerboards. If our bottom line is going to be ownership consolidation, we're going to continue to trade irreplaceable public forests just to make things look better on a map."
A New Kind of Neighborhood: Weyerhaeuser Blends Homes and Harvest By Bradley Meacham, Seattle Times, November 22, 2003. Weyerhaeuser is subdividing some of its Washington State tree farms into 20-acre plots and selling them to individuals as "private, working forests" complete with "plans for where to build a house and drill a well, plus plans for how to manage the trees so they can be most profitably harvested over many years." "Smaller test developments have been done in Snohomish, Thurston and Cowlitz counties, and the plan could be used eventually for thousands of acres of isolated timberland tracts throughout Western Washington. At $100,000 to $190,000 per plot, the sales at the latest project would generate up to $38 million for Weyerhaeuser." "Most of the trees are 15 to 20 years old, with some areas cut and replanted as recently as six years ago. Though the trees could be worth an average of $5,000 an acre if cut now, they could be worth much more in the future."
Tieton Project Secures Funding. By Anna King Herald, Tri-City Herald, Nov 8, 2003. "In Washington, D.C., and Washington state, the Tieton River Canyon is gaining attention as an important resource. The U.S. House and Senate agreed that keeping the Tieton River Canyon pristine is worth about $1 million. The funds are part of Congress's Interior Appropriations bill, and President Bush is expected to give it his final approval before Thanksgiving, said Nature Conservancy of Washington officials. "We are ecstatic," said Betsy Bloomfield, a program manager for the Nature Conservancy of Washington. "It was a very difficult budget year, and this was an extraordinary outcome." The canyon is about 20 miles west of Yakima and stretches from the dry sagelands of the Mid-Columbia to the greener forests of the eastern Cascades. The canyon appears seamless, but the 20,000 acres of mostly untouched wilderness is a jigsaw puzzle of public and private land. Many were concerned the private parcels would be developed after they were sold by a timber company. The Nature Conservancy of Washington launched a campaign earlier this year to protect 10,000 acres in the canyon. The organization plans to buy the land and then turn it over to the federal government for addition to the Wenatchee National Forest. The property, now owned by Plum Creek Timber Co., is within the bounds of the national forest. If the president approves the funding, this will be the first federal support of the campaign and comes on the heels of a Washington state appropriation of $2.5 million. The federal money brings the tally to about $4 million and would buy about 2,000 acres of the sensitive land. The group needs about $9 million to complete the project. "It brings us to about the halfway mark on all the money we need for the Tieton," Bloomfield said. The Nature Conservancy of Washington hopes to complete the project by 2006, she said. The conservancy will continue to seek additional money though federal grants and appropriations, said Len Barson, federal government relations director for the agency. "The fact that it came thought in this year is just incredible," he said."
I-90 Tracts Will Be Preserved From Development. By Debera Carlton Harrell, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Nov 4, 2003. Long-sought parcels of land along Interstate 90 will be protected from development and switch ownership -- from Plum Creek Timber Co. to the U.S. Forest Service -- thanks to Congress. The Senate voted 87-2 last night to unlock $5 million in land-acquisition money from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. The move was hailed by conservationists in Washington state, who hope to protect I-90 parcels north and south of Cle Elum for recreation and wildlife corridors in the North Cascades. The Interior appropriations bill, approved earlier by the House, is expected to be signed into law by President Bush. The $5 million -- part of a total $29.6 million congressional appropriation for land acquisition, salmon recovery and habitat restoration throughout Washington state -- will allow the Forest Service to buy 2,677 acres. Two parcels are near Salmon la Sac, with two parcels south of Cle Elum near Taneum Creek. "This is really a remarkable appropriation -- a phenomenal result -- particularly at a time when acquisition funds were being slashed," said Dave Atcheson, campaign director for the Cascade Conservation Partnership, a Seattle-based private, non-profit organization "Right now, we're really savoring the fact that we got this funding," Atcheson said, adding that the Forest Service's option to buy the land from Plum Creek expired at the end of this year. The $5 million authorization also bought the Forest Service and conservationists time, Atcheson said. Plum Creek has agreed to extend until next year the Forest Service's purchase option for other parcels in the I-90 corridor, estimated at $3.4 million. Acquisition of the final parcels would tie up the loose ends of a 1999 land exchange between the Forest Service and Plum Creek, which brought 30,000 acres into public domain but left out some key parcels, according to conservationists. Atcheson and others credited Sen. Patty Murray's leadership not only on the I-90 corridor lands, but also for the rest of the multimillion-dollar package. "Things were looking pretty bleak until Senator Murray secured the ($5 million) funding in the Senate version of the bill," Atcheson said. In the Interior appropriations bill passed by the House earlier this year, there was no land-acquisition money earmarked from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, nor did the president include the project in his request. The Land and Water Conservation Fund, initially created to buy public lands with money earned from offshore oil drilling, has become increasingly embattled amid various federal priorities. The multistate Pacific Crest Trail, for example, received no money for land acquisition from the fund -- for the first time in six years. As Murray put it in a statement: "This (I-90 land purchase) was the highest priority for Plum Creek and the Cascade Conservation Partnership, and I'm happy to have secured the funding at a time the overall accounts are being reduced. ... It has been an uphill battle, because there are some in Congress who have very different priorities." Bob Jirsa, director of corporate affairs for Plum Creek, said the company was "pleased that Congress has approved significant funding to acquire more land that is a part of the I-90 land exchange. This brings us one step closer to completing one of the most significant land exchanges in Washington history." Jirsa and conservationists also credited U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, the ranking minority member of the House Interior Appropriations Committee, who pushed for the funding. Atcheson said Republican Reps. George Nethercutt and Jennifer Dunn also recognized the importance of the land acquisitions and urged passage."
Credit To Burns For Interior Money Bill. Editorial, Great Falls Tribune, Nov 3, 2003. Looks as if $50 million will be flowing to Montana through the federal Interior Department in the coming year, a measure of the advantages of seniority in Congress. This time, the clout of Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., the chairman of the Senate Interior Appropriations Committee, deserves much of the credit. Of course, what one person sees as a worthwhile federal project, another sees as pork-barrel spending. We can expect to hear some grousing about some of the projects funded in the bill, which awaits final House and Senate votes and the presidential signature. For example there's almost $10 million in it for "amenities" at Yellowstone National Park -- including refurbishing a big part of the historic Old Faithful Inn and rebuilding the entrance at West Yellowstone. But anyone who's been to the park recently and looked at those items recognizes the need. In fact, many more millions of dollars of work is overdue at Yellowstone and most other national parks. Another piece of the appropriation package that will raise some eyebrows is about $2 million for a DNA study of grizzly bears in the Northern Rockies. But the study is viewed as a key to determining whether the bear population is sufficiently recovered to remove it from the endangered species list. About $16 million will go to research projects at the state's colleges and universities -- $12 million to Montana State University in Bozeman. The biggest piece of that goes for clean-coal research that "will potentially lead to greater utilization of our extensive coal reserves," said Tom McCoy, MSU-Bozeman's vice president of research. Our favorite part of the bill will go for conservation easements or land exchanges in the Blackfoot River basin, where Plum Creek Timber Co. is seeking to relinquish some of its vast holdings. The Interior money will help maintain the rural character of the heavily timbered Blackfoot, Clearwater and Swan valleys. We join Democratic Sen. Max Baucus in complimenting Burns for his work on this bill."
From Worst to First: Under Pressure, Boise Cascade Agrees to Stop Logging Old-Growth Forests. By Jeff Shaw, Multinational Monitor, November 2003.
Weyerhaeuser Strengthens Ties with China, By Bradley Meacham, Seattle Times, October 31, 2003. " Weyerhaeuser is expected today to sign a research and development agreement with China, a step that the Federal Way-based company hopes will lead to more business in one of the world's largest developing markets. Weyerhaeuser would help to develop forestry practices in China, research the manufacture and marketing of wood products, and develop environmental practices under the agreement, which is to be signed by Weyerhaeuser Chief Executive Steve Rogel and the president of China's Academy of Forestry, company spokesman Frank Mendizabal said. Gov. Gary Locke will be a witness to the signing ceremony in Olympia... Research would include development of eucalyptus, a fast-growing tree Weyerhaeuser grows in Uruguay, and the products that can be made with the wood... Weyerhaeuser was the first U.S. forest-products company to do business in China, in 1972, and has operated offices there since the early 1980s. Now the company has a toehold to sell building materials, packaging and paper in China and has two joint-venture packaging plants there..."
Bill Includes Funding To Protect I-90 Forestland, By Charles Pope, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, October 29, 2003. "Congress has agreed to set aside $5 million to buy and protect 2,677 acres of threatened forestland along the Interstate 90 corridor. The money was included by House and Senate negotiators late Monday in the Interior appropriations bill that could get final approval as early as today. The money was needed this year so the land could be bought from Plum Creek Timber Co. before options expired ... Supporters said getting the money was a small miracle because sharp cuts in land-acquisition accounts and the strong ideological opposition from Rep. Charles Taylor, R-N.C., to providing any money for purchases. Taylor is chairman of the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee. "I pleaded and pleaded with him to get the whole $5 million," said Dicks, a senior Democrat on the committee. "It was extremely difficult." Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, also lobbied hard for the money ... The money will buy and protect land in the upper Yakima River valley, an area highly valued for wildlife and recreation. About 1,100 acres of roadless forest, about 1,000 acres of ancient forest, and more than two miles of trail would be protected and public access preserved, supporters say. The final list of parcels to acquire would be determined in consultation with the Forest Service and other stakeholders but likely will include lands along Paris Creek and Thorp Creek, near Salmon la Sac... The money for the Plum Creek options is part of a larger effort to protect a broad swath of privately owned old-growth forest from Mount Rainier to the Alpine Lakes. The goal of the Cascades Conservation Partnership is to eventually protect 75,000 acres. The land that will be bought with the new money, supporters said, is a critical part of the plan. If the land wasn't bought this year, supporters feared that Plum Creek would have been forced to sell to other private interests who might have logged the property. "Plum Creek is pleased that Congress has approved significant funding to acquire more land that is a part of the I-90 Land Exchange," company spokesman Bob Jirsa said. "This brings us one step closer to completing one of the most significant land exchanges in Washington's history."
Land-swap Plan Withdrawn, By Morgan Winsor, The Daily Inter Lake, Oct 21, 2003. "An application to exchange private land for school trust land near Whitefish Lake was withdrawn Monday during a State Land Board meeting in Helena. Burt Sugarman decided to postpone his application until the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation drafts a land use plan for approximately 13,000 acres of trust land near Whitefish. Sugarman told the board he had received several letters from area residents vehemently opposed to exchanging the land before the state concluded its land assessment. "My wife and I have been absolutely demonized in Whitefish," Sugarman said. "Many of the letters say we haven't been good community people and that we've never belonged in Whitefish." "Multimillionaires are no good and should move out," one letter said. Another characterized the "rich and famous" as people who "rape, plunder and steal from the locals." Another called them an "insidious virus." "He basically wanted to clear his name and set the record straight," said David Greer, a state planner who was at the meeting. Sugarman wanted to trade 80 acres of timberland near Shorts Meadow for 50 acres of trust land in the Stillwater State Forest next to his property on the north edge of Whitefish Lake. Sugarman, who has owned his lakefront property for 13 years, is a Los Angeles businessman and has been a movie producer. His wife, Mary Hart, is the longtime co-host of television's "Entertainment Tonight." Sugarman currently has a $3,000 annual lease on the trust land adjacent to his property. Last year the state parcel was appraised at approximately $1 million. Sugarman was going to buy the 80-acre tract from Plum Creek Timber Co. The land was valued at $240,000. The exchange would have included Sugarman buying an office building in Glasgow - valued at $880,000 - and giving it to the state. Greer said the office building generates $71,000 in income annually. Revenue would have gone to Montana State University. "The option on the Glasgow property may expire, so that property may not be available again," Greer said. "It's unfortunate for MSU, but it's probably good for promoting public trust within the community of Whitefish." Sugarman said most of the letters accused him of wanting to overdevelop the land or run a marina on his shorefront property. He told the board the only building on the property is and will be the 1,100 square-food cabin 100 feet from shore. "We kept it looking pristine, exactly like a park, exactly like a park," he said. He also pointed out that the land he wants is not waterfront property, but three segments that frame his current land. Sugarman's action was a surprise to Whitefish residents Marshall Friedman and Vick Smith, who went to the Helena meeting prepared to urge Land Board members to reject the proposal. "We weren't going to complain about the swap itself, just that it happen after the land use plan was in place," said Friedman, who was there representing a group of Whitefish residents. "We wanted to postpone it, not stop it." Greer said a detailed land use evaluation should be drafted by May 2004. Whitefish Mayor Andy Feury said Sugarman did right by postponing the application. "I'm glad that he withdrew," Feury said. "I know he has been working on it for a long time. But waiting an extra nine months, everybody will win. At least that's my hope."
Land Swap On Whitefish Lake Delayed, By Jennifer McKe, Missoulian, Oct 21, 2003. "Movie producer cites locals' animosity as reason for withdrawal. Hollywood movie producer and part-time Whitefish resident Burt Sugarman surprised his critics - and the Montana Land Board - on Monday when he withdrew his plans to acquire 50 acres of state land adjoining his Whitefish Lake spread. Sugarman, who wanted to trade a building in Glasgow and 80 acres of land elsewhere, cited pointed - even nasty - animosity from his Whitefish neighbors as the reason behind postponing the swap. " 'Go back to where you came from,' " Sugarman read from one letter in his testimony before the Land Board on Monday. Another letter compared "wealthy out-of-staters" like Sugarman to an "insidious virus" afflicting the state of Montana. The Land Board, made up of Montana's five statewide elected officials, governs state-owned land held in trust to generate revenue for public schools and the university system. Sugarman, who is perhaps best known for producing the 1986 blockbuster "Children of a Lesser God," as well as being the husband of "Entertainment Tonight" co-host Mary Hart, said several outspoken locals had launched a letter campaign to smear him. Sugarman told the board he now wants to postpone the land swap until a pending communitywide plan concerning 13,000 acres of state land around Whitefish Lake is complete. The plan, he said, should answer all the local concerns about the swap. "We've been waiting 10 years," Sugarman said. "We can wait a little longer." Sugarman and his wife spend most of their time in Los Angeles. They have been part-time residents of Whitefish for 13 years, Sugarman said, where they own 130 acres abutting Whitefish Lake, including 3,000 feet of lakefront. In the early 1990s, said Tom Shultz, administrator of the state's Trust Land Division, Sugarman opposed a proposed timber sale slated to log 50 acres neighboring his property. Sugarman outbid the timber company for the lease on the property and has been paying just over $3,000 ever since to lease the 50 acres. "Initially, he wanted to buy (the land) outright," Schultz said. Instead, he said, Sugarman asked the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, which administers state lands, what he would have to do to trade for the 50 acres. The department came up with a wish list: 80 logged acres of land now owned by Plum Creek Timber Co. and a privately owned building in Glasgow leased by a federal agency for around $71,000 a year. The value of both properties is about $960,000, Shultz said. The value of the 50 acres abutting Sugarman's property is around $1.1 million. Shultz said the agency wanted the Plum Creek land because, although "there are not a whole lot of trees left on the ground," it adjoins other state land and would give public access to that land. The Glasgow building would provide yearly income of $71,000, in contrast to the $3,000 the agency currently earns from Sugarman's lease. The agency has been working with Sugarman on the deal for more than 10 years. Sugarman has even purchased the Glasgow building and the Plum Creek land with the condition that if the land swap doesn't go through, the properties go back to their original owners, Shultz said. Notice of the land swap was published in the Whitefish Pilot on Sept. 18. By then, said land board member and State Auditor John Morrison, the state and the Whitefish community were already involved in a communitywide discussion about the best uses for 13,000 acres of state lands around Whitefish Lake. Morrison, who said after Monday's meeting that he intended to vote against the Sugarman land swap, said he thought it would send the wrong message to launch a public conversation about state lands and at the same time approve a large, contentious land swap. "I think it is important for the Land Board to uphold the integrity of a public process once we establish one," he said. Morrison also publicly apologized to Sugarman at the meeting for the mean tone of the letters. No critics of the deal spoke at the meeting."
Blackfoot land deal announced, by Sherry Devlin, Missoulian, Oct 11, 2003. "Hoping to maintain their traditional way of life, upper Blackfoot Valley landowners on Thursday announced an agreement to buy 40,780 acres of Plum Creek Timber Co. land, with an option on 47,933 acres more. If both sales eventually close, the Blackfoot Challenge will buy all of Plum Creek's midelevation timberland between Clearwater Junction and Rogers Pass, north and south of Highway 200. Purchase of the land, residents said, is the only way they know to preserve the upper Blackfoot's heritage of ranching, forestry, public access and wildlife habitat. "This is the heritage of the Blackfoot: to try and do the right thing, to take control of your own destiny," said Jim Stone, who took over his family's ranch in Ovando 19 years ago and is chairman of the Blackfoot Challenge. "Instead of focusing on our own ranch or our own family, we thought it was important to look toward the future as a community and try to create something long-lasting here," Stone said. "You've got to be forward thinkers," he said. "This is just a huge opportunity for us." Over the next two years, the Nature Conservancy will buy the first 40,780 acres of Plum Creek land for about $30 million as phase one of the project. The Nature Conservancy will borrow the money to buy the land, but will not be the ultimate owner. Instead, the Blackfoot Challenge will work with residents of the upper Blackfoot to develop a "disposition plan" that will decide who owns the land in the future. Then, the Nature Conservancy will sell the land to those buyers - likely a combination of federal and state agencies and individuals. "From here on out, the work really starts," Stone said. Already, the Blackfoot Challenge has started meeting with rural neighborhoods, he said, talking about the future. So far, the message has been clear: Maintain the public's access to the backcountry. Preserve the upper Blackfoot's large, working ranches. Preserve logging as a traditional way of life. Keep intact the habitat wildlife depend upon as a corridor into the backcountry. "Our credibility is on the line here," Stone said. "But if we can make this an open, collaborative process, I think it can work. It's the way things have always worked up here." At the Nature Conservancy, state director Jamie Williams said his group understands the complexity of what the Blackfoot Challenge is attempting - and the risk involved. But Plum Creek's lands are critical to keeping the upper Blackfoot Valley whole, Williams said. The valley bottom is primarily in private ownership, mostly large ranches. The midelevation forests just off the valley floor belong to Plum Creek. And the upper third is public land, either U.S. Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management. "If we lost that middle-elevation ground, we would lose both the wildlife corridors and the public access into the backcountry," Williams said. "So Plum Creek's property is critical." "I don't think many people know how much of the land they use is actually Plum Creek land," said Bob Bushnell, a community leader in Lincoln. "Maintaining access to these lands is pivotal to the local economy." At Plum Creek, Northwest general manager Tom Ray said his company was "pleased to assist once again in the sale of important land to accommodate public interest in conservation, economic and other community values." In 1996, the company sold 11,700 acres along the Blackfoot River's middle reach to the Nature Conservancy, which then put the land into public hands. Even if all 89,000 acres in the upper Blackfoot are sold, Plum Creek will still own and manage more than 194,000 acres in the drainage's middle and lower reaches for timber production - and will still own more than 1.3 million acres in Montana. And the sale does not necessarily mean the loss of commercial timber production, Stone said. Much of the land will still be available for logging. Yes, he said, some of the ground will eventually be sold to private landowners, albeit sometimes with a conservation easement attached. Yes, he said, some local ranchers hope to add to their land holdings as part of the deal. "But no commitments have been made," Stone said. "There will be an opportunity for anyone to put their hat in to buy these properties. There will be a process, though, to guarantee that our conservation goals are met. "There will be safeguards to make sure our conservation and community values are met on any land sold privately." And while the effort is not entirely driven by fears that Plum Creek would subdivide the land, the community isn't interested in widespread subdivision, Stone said. "We could end up with a few housing developments out of this, maybe near Seeley Lake and Lincoln," he said. "But those would be community-driven and collaboratively approved." If phase one is a success, then the Nature Conservancy will start to exercise three additional options to purchase 47,933 acres from Plum Creek, at a cost of $38 million. That land would be dispersed in the same manner, via the Blackfoot Challenge and its open, collaborative process. If both phases are completed, Plum Creek will sell lands scattered throughout the upper Blackfoot from the Clearwater Wildlife Management Area through Ovando to Alice Creek, near Rogers Pass. "It is so exciting to see the tremendous leadership and commitment of the local community in putting this all together," Williams said. "This really is the culmination of a long history of stewardship by landowners in this valley." "It really reflects back 30 years," Stone said, "to my folks and folks like Land Lindbergh talking about the heritage of the Blackfoot. Because of them, we have an opportunity now to talk about the future - to talk about our own kids carrying on an historic legacy."
Nature Conservancy, Plum Creek Strike Deal, By Eve Byron, Helena Independent Record, October 10, 2003. "Plum Creek Timber Co. announced plans on Thursday to sell almost 41,000 acres scattered throughout the Blackfoot River Valley for $30 million to The Nature Conservancy. In addition, the conservation organization has an option to purchase an additional 47,900 acres in the area within the next few years for approximately $38 million, bringing the total land deal to 88,700 acres for $68 million n an average of $766 per acre. The non-profit Nature Conservancy plans to resell the large parcels to public and private entities, with the promise that the vast majority of the land would not be subdivided and turned into million dollar ranchettes. "This certainly is our largest project in Montana, and potentially among the largest in the Conservancy's (52-year) history, said Jaime Williams, state director for The Nature Conservancy's Montana chapter. "The idea is to keep the land open and unfragmented. We would like to sell it in the largest parcels possible to preserve its important conservation values." The Blackfoot River Valley generally flows westward from Rogers Pass and the Scapegoat Wilderness Area near Lincoln toward Helmville and Ovando. It's home to black and grizzly bears, elk, deer, mountain lion and lynx as well as nearly 235 bird species and native cutthroat and bull trout. Unlike many urbanized areas of Montana, the Blackfoot River Valley - consisting of about 1.5 million acres of public and private lands - is home to only about eight communities and 2,500 families. Among the Plum Creek lands involved in the sale are 10,000 acres near Ovando Mountain and 8,000 acres in the Alice Creek area near Rogers Pass. Generally, the properties are part of a checkerboard pattern of ownership, ranging in size from a single section (640 acres) to 10,000 acres. While the lands have been logged, and some of the property will continue to be "managed for timber," the purchase protects most of the acreage from turning into subdivisions and ranchettes, Williams said... The project was spearheaded by the Blackfoot Challenge, a group of private landowners, public agencies, and conservation groups that reside or work in the 1.5 million acre Blackfoot watershed. The group's goal is to maintain the traditional uses in the valley, including ranching, forestry, public access and wildlife habitat... As part of that future, the Blackfoot Challenge is developing a "disposition and management plan" to determine which lands will become public and which will be sold into private ownership. The sale is expected to be finalized in January, and is the most recent land transaction for Plum Creek, which owns 1.4 million acres in Montana. Just two weeks ago, the company announced the completion of a $34 million, seven-year effort to protect 142,000 acres from development in the Thompson and Fisher river valleys of northwestern Montana. That conservation easement was the largest in Montana history. However, unlike Thursday's announcement, Plum Creek retained ownership of the land in the Thompson and Fisher river valleys and could continue logging and timber management on those properties. As Plum Creek acreage is being cleared of timber, the company is selling it off more often instead of waiting for the trees to grow back. For example, the company has subdivisions along Bitterroot Lake n on formerly logged land n listing from $84,500 per lot and 163 acres on Metcalf Lake in Lake County for just under $3 million. But the vast majority of its holdings in Montana are still managed primarily for timber, and the deal announced Thursday is worth only about $700 per acre. Kathy Budinick, Plum Creek spokesperson, said the company recognized that the Blackfoot River Valley is a special place, which is why the company sold 11,700 acres to the Nature Conservancy of Montana in 1996. She added that the company still owns about 194,000 acres in the Blackfoot Valley... The Nature Conservancy has a "no-net-profit" policy when selling land to public agencies, so the cost to any state or federal agency will reflect the Conservancy's purchase price and direct costs associated with each transaction. Potential agencies include the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management and the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, as well as Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Private buyers must pay the non-profit Conservancy at least the appraised market value. Williams said about 50 percent of the property involved in Thursday's announcement is expected to be sold to private ownership, with the Blackfoot Challenge developing the plan for which parcels will go that route. No agreements with private buyers have been struck, and all private sales will be advertised and made available to the general public. Purchasers must be able to meet the conservation, community and financial objectives for each parcel..."
Plum Creek Agrees to Sale of Montana Land to Conservation Group. Puget Sound Business Journal, Oct 9, 2003. "Seattle-based Plum Creek Timber Co. Inc. said it has agreed to sell 41,000 acres of timberland in Montana to The Montana Nature Conservancy for $30 million. The transaction is expected to close in three phases over the year during 2004, subject to due diligence. The Nature Conservancy is a partner of the Blackfoot Challenge, a local group of private landowners, public agencies and conservation groups working to preserve Montana's Blackfoot River Valley region. Plum Creek said the parties in this transaction also signed a multiyear option agreement to purchase an additional 48,000 acres of Plum Creek land for about $38 million. Plum Creek said Blackfoot Challenge will guide the future ownership of these lands.'"
Plum Creek Sells Land to Nature Conservancy. Seattle Post Intelligencer, Oct 9, 2003. "Plum Creek Timber Co. Inc. has agreed to sell about 41,000 acres in west-central Montana to The Nature Conservancy for $30 million. The transaction is expected to close in three phases during 2004. The Blackfoot Challenge, a local group of private landowners, public agencies and conservation groups, worked with The Nature Conservancy to secure the land. The parties also signed a multiyear option agreement to buy an additional 48,000 acres of Plum Creek lands for about $38 million."
Blackfoot Challenge Strikes Land Agreement with Plum Creek, By Courtney Lowery, Associated Press, Missoulian, Oct 9, 2003. "A group of landowners, conservation groups and public agencies have joined to strike a $30 million deal with Plum Creek Timber Co. for 41,000 acres of land in the Blackfoot River Valley. The Blackfoot Challenge and the Nature Conservancy announced the purchase Thursday, with leaders saying the move will protect the upper watershed from development and keep the traditional uses of the valley: ranching, forestry, public access and wildlife habitat. The Blackfoot Challenge, started by a group of ranchers, conservationists and land managers, first started making plans to buy the land more than a year ago. The group's mission is to make sure local residents get a say in how the land is managed. The $30 million will come from the Nature Conservancy, via private donations and the eventual sale of the land to private and public landholders. Jamie Williams, the state director of the Nature Conservancy said the success of the sale is two-fold. "The reason we're so excited about it is because it not only conserves the most intact watershed in the state, but also because of the extraordinary local leadership the sale came under," he said. The purchase came with an option to buy another 48,000 acres from Plum Creek in the same Ovando-Lincoln area. Combined, it is the largest conservation project the Nature Conservancy has taken on in its 52-year history in the state, Williams said. Williams said Blackfoot Challenge's plan is to have the land eventually divided _ with about half private ownership and half aside as public land. The exact division is still being worked out. The Plum Creek sale is likely to close some time next year. The project is one Plum Creek was happy to agree to, said spokeswoman Kathy Budinick. Plum creek owns 1.4 million acres in Montana, about 820,000 acres of that is in the Blackfoot Valley, Budinick said. "We were happy when the group approached us because it made economical sense to the company but it also served some good conservation efforts for the company as well," she said. Williams said the 41,000 acres is critical because it is the link between the publicly owned land in the upper elevations and the private ranch land in the bottom of the valley. "We wanted to keep that undivided, unfragmented," he said. "A lot of the ranchers in the valley feel the same way. A lot of them already have conservation easements." The Blackfoot River Valley is a 1.5-million acre watershed that extends from the top of the Continental Divide westward for about 132 miles."
Tribe Pays $5M for Land Where Its Ancestors Lived, By Peter Rebhahn, Green Bay Press Gazette, Oct 3, 2003. "More than 33 square miles of forest and wetlands in far northern Wisconsin have returned to their ancestral owners in the largest private land conservation deal in state history. "It's a lot easier to do sustainable forest management when one land owner has the management authority, and that was really the driving force behind what we did," said Matt Dallman, northern Wisconsin conservation director for the Nature Conservancy. The $5-million deal negotiated by the Nature Conservancy transfers one-fifth - 21,322 acres - of the land in the Ashland County reservation of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians to the tribe from Seattle-based Plum Creek Timber Co. "This land purchase enables the band to get back precious land that was once thought lost forever," Tribal Council Chairman Eugene Bigboy said in a statement. The tribe's purchase also included another 2,366 acres owned by the Nature Conservancy. The tribe now owns 73 percent of the 124,000-acre reservation on Wisconsin's main land and Madeline Island. The Bad River Band is one of four Chippewa bands in Wisconsin with reservation lands set aside in the federal Treaty of 1854. About 1,500 of the more than 6,000 members of the Bad River Band live on the reservation. Dallman said the Nature Conservancy, an international nonprofit organization that seeks to preserve wild areas, has worked before with Plum Creek to protect environmentally sensitive land in the South and in New England, and parlayed its relationship with the company into a good deal for the tribe. Plum Creek spokeswoman Kathy Budinick said the deal leaves the company holding 530,000 acres of Wisconsin forest land, but she offered no details on the sale. "The deal made business sense to us," Budinick said. "We do buy and sell land from time to time, and we're constantly evaluating what we have and others would like to have." Dallman said the purchased land consists of many parcels raging in size from 20 to 3,500 acres - all connected by relatively pristine streams, rivers and marshes to Chequamegon Bay and Lake Superior. The deal will protect more than 24 miles of rivers and streams - including frontage on the Bad, White and Potato rivers -and the Kakagon and Bad River marshes, which are among the highest quality wetlands on the Great Lakes coastline. "The forests in this 33-square-mile block are critically important to maintaining water quality," Dallman said."
Historic Purchase Saves Forests: Tribe Gets Land in State's Biggest Conservation Deal, By Mike Ivey, (Madison WI) Capital Times, Oct 2, 2003. "Conservationists in Madison have played a key role in the largest private land protection purchase in state history. The Nature Conservancy of Wisconsin, headquartered at 633 W. Main St., announced a deal Wednesday to conserve 21,322 acres of forested land in the Chequamegon Bay watershed on Lake Superior. The land is on the reservation of the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians. The Nature Conservancy negotiated the right to purchase the land for $4.5 million from Seattle-based Plum Creek Timber Co., one of the largest timberland owners in the nation. The Nature Conservancy then immediately transferred the lands to the Bad River Band. "This is something we have been working on for a long, long time," said Cate Harrington, spokeswoman for the Nature Conservancy, the largest of the 55 private nonprofit land trusts operating in Wisconsin. The purchase includes 24 miles of rivers and streams in northern Wisconsin. It will conserve wildlife habitat and help maintain water quality in the Kakagon/Bad River Sloughs and Chequamegon Bay. The Nature Conservancy also sold at cost to the tribe another 2,366 acres - most purchased from Stora Enso North America in December 2000. The tribe is now responsible for long-term management and protection of the properties. Bad River Tribal Council Chairman Eugene Bigboy said the tribe has been losing its land almost since the original reservation boundaries were drawn in the 19th century. "This purchase enables the band to get back precious land that was once thought lost forever," he said. The deal also drew praise from Gov. Jim Doyle, who said that each successive generation "bears the obligation to be responsible stewards of Wisconsin's natural treasures." "This is good for our economy, our environment, and most of all, for those who love and appreciate the beauty of the outdoors," Doyle said in a statement. The lands are in multiple parcels ranging from 20 to 3,500 acres and are covered mostly by forests and wetlands. They are connected through a network of streams and rivers to the watershed that empties into the Kakagon/Bad River Sloughs and Chequamegon Bay. Water draining through the sloughs is filtered by wetland plants, removing many of the pollutants gathered on the way downstream. This clean-water filtering through the sloughs into Chequamegon Bay helps keep the bay healthy, said Harrington. The area is home to two timber wolf packs; raptors such as the northern goshawk and bald eagle; and many migratory songbirds. The lands are also an important yarding area for white-tailed deer that come down from the Penokee Hills during the winter. The sale is the latest example of corporate-owned U.S. forest land that has changed hands over the past five years. In Wisconsin alone, more than 90 percent of corporate-owned forestlands have been sold or resold since 1997. The Nature Conservancy has worked with Plum Creek and other corporate forest owners in other states across the South and New England to protect some of the most ecologically important parcels of land. The Nature Conservancy has an office in Ashland and has been active in the Chequamegon Bay area since 1993. The organization previously established a 1,000-acre nature preserve near Mellen at Caroline Lake, the headwaters of the Bad River."
Conservation Easement Largest In State History, By Sherry Devlin, Missoulian, Oct 2, 2003. "142,000 acres along Thompson, Fisher river valleys set aside. Conservationists, Plum Creek Timber Co. and state fish and wildlife officials on Tuesday announced completion of a $34 million, seven-year effort to protect from development 142,000 acres in the Thompson and Fisher river valleys of northwestern Montana. The set-aside is the largest conservation easement in Montana history. Brokered by the Trust for Public Lands, the easement protects a wide swath of Plum Creek's commercial timberland from subdivision, but allows continued timber management and logging. The deal also preserves public access to the land for hunting, fishing and other recreation. "Flathead, Sanders and Lincoln counties, where the project is located, are among the state's fastest-growing areas," said David Genter, TPL's program director in Montana. Already, he said, the loss of open space "has changed the rural character, diminished access to recreational lands and impacted quality of life. "Future generations will be thankful for the foresight and efforts of local citizens and political leaders to protect these lands." Because of the $34 million price tag placed on Plum Creek's lost development rights, funding came from a wide variety of sources. Largest of the contributors - at $16 million - was the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Legacy Program. Another $9 million was provided through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Habitat Conservation Plan Land Acquisition grant program, and $6 million came from Montana's Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. "This project has had the enthusiastic and sustained support of hunters and anglers," said Dan Vincent, FWP's regional supervisor. "We are pleased to see its completion." Plum Creek also made a $1.6 million donation to the project, and the Bonneville Power Administration contributed $1.5 million toward fisheries habitat protection in the Fisher River drainage. Tom Ray, Plum Creek's general manager, explained his company's interest in the deal: "We recognize that multiple conservation values can be maintained alongside our long-term management objectives for the production of wood fiber. We look forward to investigating other opportunities for collaborative approaches to maintain habitat protection and public recreation opportunities on Plum Creek forest lands." In a written statement, Sanders County Commissioner Carol Brooker emphasized the importance of preserving the commercial timberland. "By maintaining these lands in forest production, we can prevent the encroachment of residences into the forests and avoid the obligations of providing services to isolated rural-recreational development," Brooker said. "This summer's fire season is a persuasive reminder that placing homes in the forest environment creates unnecessary threats to public safety and private property, and places an extreme burden on the taxpayers." The Thompson and Fisher river valleys are also the wintertime home to northwest Montana's largest elk herd. The easement will help other wildlife species as well, Genter said, including deer, moose, bighorn sheep, grizzly bears, native fisheries, bald eagles and several species of furbearers."
Deal Conserves Wisconsin Land: The Nature Conservancy transfers ownership of 21,322 acres to the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, By Shelley Nelson, Duluth News Tribune, Oct 1, 2003. "An American Indian tribe will protect 21,322 acres of land near Lake Superior under a deal negotiated by the Nature Conservancy of Wisconsin. The conservation group said Wednesday it negotiated the right to buy the land for $4.5 million from Seattle-based Plum Creek Timber Co. The group then transferred that right to the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. "Almost since the creation of the Bad River Reservation, the land within the original boundaries has transferred from tribal ownership," said Bad River Tribal Chairman Eugene Bigboy. "The heart and soul of any reservation, aside of its people, is its land. The purchase enables the Band to get back precious land that was once thought lost forever." Proper management of the properties will help prevent soil erosion and protect water quality in the rivers and the Kakagon-Bad River Sloughs -- 16,000 acres of wetlands that have been called the Everglades of the North. The wetland complex, Lake Superior's largest estuary, is a federally designated National Natural Landmark. "We are pleased to celebrate the Year of Water in Wisconsin by completing this transaction to protect 24 miles of rivers and streams in northern Wisconsin, conserve wildlife habitat and help maintain the high water quality in the Kakagon-Bad River Sloughs and Chequamegon Bay," said Mary Jean Huston, state director of the Nature Conservancy of Wisconsin. The land included in the sale consists of multiple parcels ranging in size from 20 acres to 3,500 acres, and is covered mostly by forests and wetlands. The parcels, connected through a network of streams and rivers, are part of the watershed that empties into the Kakagon-Bad River Sloughs and Chequamegon Bay. The conservation group also sold to the tribe 2,366 acres of land that it bought from Finland-based Stora Enso in 2000. That property includes more than four miles of frontage on the Bad and White rivers and smaller streams, as well as 825 feet of Lake Superior shoreline. The transaction announced Wednesday is the largest private land conservation deal in Wisconsin history, the Nature Conservancy said. The Nature Conservancy and the Bad River Band have worked together since 1987 to protect land in the Kakagon-Bad River Sloughs. In addition to agreeing to protect water quality, the two are cooperating to restore the characteristics of the once-dominant boreal forests and protect critical habitats for rare species, such as orchids, bald eagles and the timber wolf. "By working closely with diverse partners and striving to work at larger scales, we are able to produce real, tangible results that benefit the people of Wisconsin," said Butch Johnson, a member of the board of trustees of the Nature Conservancy in Wisconsin."
Tribe Has 23,688 More Acres to Conserve: Bad River Chippewa to Protect Forest, Wetlands After Landmark Land Buy, By Lee Bergquist and Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Oct 2, 2003. "In a landmark transaction, the Bad River Chippewa said Wednesday that they have purchased 23,688 acres for nearly $5 million, and said they plan to protect the forest and wetlands along two important watersheds flowing into Lake Superior. The deal involving about 33 square miles was touted as the largest private land conservation purchase in Wisconsin history by the Nature Conservancy. The environmental organization sold some of the land to the tribe, and it helped the Bad River with details of the acquisitions, which are aimed at returning land in Ashland County that was originally deeded to the tribe by an 1854 treaty. The Bad River Band now owns about 70% of the 154,000 acres of its former ancestral lands, according to Eugene Bigboy, the tribal council chairman. "It's been a lifetime dream for the Bad River people to claim back the land we lost to the paper and logging companies," Bigboy said in a phone interview Wednesday. "It was a dream come true." The largest acquisition of land for conservation was the state of Wisconsin's so-called "Great Addition" in 1999 involving 32,000 acres in Iron, Oneida, Vilas and Lincoln counties. In Wednesday's transaction, the Bad River bought 21,322 acres from Seattle-based Plum Creek Timber Co. Inc. for $4.5 million. It also paid about $495,000 for 2,366 acres from the Nature Conservancy, which bought timberland from Stora Enso North America in December 2000. The Nature Conservancy buys land or helps other groups buy land and protect it from development for generations to come. In this case, the conservancy worked with the tribe on an agreement for future conservation projects, including restoration of spruce and hemlock and the majestic white pine. The trees once dominated the northern third of the state before they were logged off more than 100 years ago. As part of the agreement, the tribe also will work to restore critical habitats for protected species, such as the bald eagle, timber wolf, wood turtle and the ram's head lady's slipper orchid. The deal involves numerous parcels, from 20 acres to 3,500 acres, that are connected through a network of 24 miles of streams and the Bad, White and Potato rivers, which empty northward into the Kakagon and Bad River sloughs and Chequamegon Bay. The sloughs, the largest on Lake Superior, are important because their wetland plants filter water and remove pollutants before it eventually enters Lake Superior, said Matt Dallman, director of conservation in northern Wisconsin for the Nature Conservancy. "It's how that water moves through the forest system - and what's happening on that land - that affects the water quality of the lake," Dallman said. Two timber wolf packs roam the land, which also is home to migratory songbirds and raptors such as northern goshawks. White-tailed deer move down in the winter from the Penokee Range to the south for a better source of food. The agreement, however, would not bar the tribe from developing the land in the future, said Kevin Osterbauer, general counsel for the Bad River. "But that's not our plan," he said. "We are going to try to get it back to the way it used to look." Bigboy, 68, said he can't remember when his tribe owned the property. Much of it was logged off, but there is new growth on many acres. "Our plan is to probably just keep it in its (natural) habitat and hunt and fish. It's our land. We're just happy to get it back," he said. Bigboy agreed that although the tribe has no plans to develop the acreage, it could do so in the future. "If that time ever comes where we're looking for a piece of land to put something on, we'll take a look at it. But we didn't buy it for that purpose," said Bigboy, who has been tribal chairman for four years. The tribe sold a revenue bond to finance the transaction and plans on using casino revenue to repay the debt, Osterbauer said. The deal was applauded by the state Department of Natural Resources and Gov. Jim Doyle. "This is good for our economy, our environment and most of all, for those who love and appreciate the beauty of the outdoors," Doyle said in a prepared statement."
School Trust Land May Become Camp for Boy Scouts, By Morgan Winsor, Daily Inter Lake, Oct 1, 2003. "A 114-acre parcel of school trust land on McGilvray Lake may soon become a permanent base camp for Boy Scouts. Howard and Joni Mann, part-time valley residents who own 28 acres along McGilvray Lake, have proposed trading 160 acres at the south end of Rogers Lake for 154 acres of school trust land surrounding McGilvray Lake. The Manns would purchase the Rogers Lake property - appraised at $1 million - from Plum Creek Timber Co. and give it to the Boy Scouts to make the exchange for the McGilvray Lake property, which also is appraised at $1 million. The Manns have paid options on the Rogers Lake property for more than a year. The lake is approximately 13 miles west of Kalispell off U.S. 2. The Manns would keep 40 of the 154 acres. The 40 acres connect to their lakefront property. The Boy Scouts would own the remainder, including the lake. Howard Mann said the Boy Scouts also would be allowed to use his 40 acres. "We're on really good terms with them," Mann said. "They can do anything with the property." Part of the agreement is that Mann and the Boy Scouts would each be allowed to erect one permanent housing facility on the properties. "There is no intent to significantly change the nature of the development out there," said Marc Spratt, vice chairman of the Boy Scouts northwest district. Since 1977, the Scouts have leased 12 of the 154 acres of trust land at McGilvray Lake, paying $1,800 annually. "It's really important for the scouting program to have ownership of this camp," Spratt said. "It gives us an identity." The property at McGilvray Lake would be the third piece of property in the state owned by the Boy Scouts. "We're trying to get camps scattered throughout the state so people don't have to drive seven hours to a camp," Spratt said. David Greer, land use planner with the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, explained why the land exchange would benefit the state. He said trust land at McGilvray Lake is landlocked. The state cannot access the property without trespassing on private land. "The Boy Scouts have permission to access the land, the DNRC has no legal access," Greer said. "Some concerns with the land exchange is there would be a loss of public access to McGilvray Lake. There was never public access to the McGilvray property." Land south of Rogers Lake has public access and would allow the state to generate $25,000 annually with five cabin leases. The state currently owns all land on the western shore of Rogers Lake, where it also leases 36 cabins. Land along the eastern shore is privately owned. "The state would own about 80 percent of the land surrounding Lake Rogers, which would be open to the public," Greer said. "It also helps us consolidate ownership and manage land resource protection." Greer said McGilvray Lake is fed only by ground springs. Rogers Lake has an inlet and an outlet. There are also are wetlands that provide suitable habitat for loons, Greer said. The land exchange first came to the table in 1997 when Mann asked scout leaders why facilities on the lake weren't being upgraded. Because the land is leased, new facilities cannot be built. "I think the Boy Scouts is a very good program and I'd like them to develop that into a first class camp," said Mann, a former scout leader who lives at his second home in Las Vegas during the winter. Although all the right ingredients seem to be in place for a successful land exchange, the decision rests with the state Land Board. The Land Board in May approved the preliminary proposal for the exchange. Final approval will take place on Nov. 17. A public hearing on the issue will be held at 7 p.m. Oct. 16 in the conference room of the Fish, Wildlife and Parks office on North Meridian Road in Kalispell."
Weyerhaeuser Settles Containerboard Antitrust Cases, Business Wire, Sept 23, 2003. "Weyerhaeuser Company today announced that it is one of three companies that has entered into an agreement to settle two containerboard class-action lawsuits. Under terms of the agreement International Paper, Georgia-Pacific Corp. and Weyerhaeuser will pay a total of $68 million to settle the class action cases. The U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, has been asked to give preliminary approval to the settlement.. "Although these lawsuits were without merit, we determined that settling them was in the best interests of our shareholders given the complexity, time and cost of litigation, and uncertainty of court proceedings," said Robert A. Dowdy, Weyerhaeuser vice president and general counsel. Following the preliminary approval, under procedures established by the court, members of the class will be notified of the settlement and a hearing will be held prior to final approval. The settlement does not cover companies who have opted-out of the class-action cases. Dowdy said that Weyerhaeuser would continue to vigorously defend itself in the related opt-out cases. Today's settlement deals with two civil class-action antitrust lawsuits filed in May 1999 against several major containerboard and packaging producers. The complaints allege that these companies conspired to fix or manipulate the price of linerboard and thereby the prices of corrugated sheets and corrugated containers which are made from linerboard..."
Timber Firm Trying to Save Exemption, By Bradley Meacham, Seattle Times, September 10, 2003. Five months after a jury decided it violated federal antitrust laws by manipulating a key lumber market, Weyerhaeuser yesterday found itself defending its right to buy logs from publicly owned land in Oregon. Owners of seven Northwest alder mills asked Oregon to rescind special permission it granted in 1999 allowing the company to buy alder logs from 133,000 acres of state forest. The permission exempts the company from rules banning companies that export logs from buying timber off state land.... In a hearing yesterday before top officials of the Oregon agencies in charge of the exemption, a series of mill owners, economists and industry analysts argued that Weyerhaeuser's control of more than 70 percent of the $400 million Northwest alder market should disqualify it from buying state logs. Weyerhaeuser executives originally dismissed the alder antitrust lawsuit as an attempt at extortion... [T]he verdict, which cost the company $79 million, encouraged other rivals to file a separate lawsuit seeking damages up to $600 million... In Washington, Weyerhaeuser was granted an exemption allowing it to buy hardwood harvested from state land in 1991. In recent years, it has bought 75 to 80 percent of the total amount of hardwood harvested off state land, or 3-4 million board feet annually, according to the Department of Natural Resources. Nearly 500 million board feet are harvested each year. No complaints have been filed in Washington about the exemption, said Todd Myers, spokesman for the Department of Natural Resources.
Boise Cascade Environmental Commitment. Sept 3, 2003.
Boise Cascade Turns Green: Paper Maker Will Stop Buying Wood From Endangered Forests, By Jim Carlton, Wall Street Journal, September 3, 2003. "Boise Cascade Corp. agreed to stop buying wood products from the world's endangered forests, bowing to the kind of intense pressure from customers and environmental activists that is increasingly leading forest-products purveyors to adopt greener practices. In a statement expected to be released Wednesday, the Boise, Idaho, timber concern said it will end purchases of wood from endangered forests in places like Chile, Indonesia and Canada as such areas are mapped. Next year, Boise Cascade said, it will stop cutting timber from virgin forests in the U.S. Meanwhile, the company said it will also start pressuring its suppliers to follow its lead, such as by giving purchasing preference to ones that provide paper and wood products from forests that are independently certified as being under healthy management. To help enforce the new policy, Boise said it will start tracking the origins of paper and wood products it receives... A Kinko's official confirmed that Boise's forestry practices didn't mesh with Kinko's recent policy of avoiding paper products from endangered forests, and that this was one reason the company switched to another supplier last year. Another big customer, Lowe's Cos. of Wilkesboro, N.C., said it "encouraged" Boise to negotiate an accord with the Rainforest Action Network to comply with its 2000 policy of phasing out wood from endangered forests... Then the activists began pressuring Boise's customers to cancel contracts with the company. Although Boise officials said no customers ever called to say such pressure was leading them to end a contract, officials at Lowe's said that beginning about eight months ago they pushed for the timber company to meet with the activists and heed some of their demands. Boise subsequently met several times with the environmental group, and is set to issue a joint press statement with the group Wednesday."
Boise Raises Environmental Bar. Business Journal of Portland, Sept 3, 2003. "Boise Cascade Corp. Wednesday became the first major U.S. forest products company to adopt a comprehensive environmental statement and the first distributor of wood and paper products to extend an environmental policy to its suppliers. The Boise, Idaho-based company said it is to work with environmental groups to eliminate the purchase of wood products from endangered areas. Boise also commits to give purchasing preference to suppliers who provide wood products from certified, well-managed forests whenever feasible. Boise said its environmental statement will make significant progress in helping to protect endangered forest areas throughout the world and old-growth forests in the United States. Environmental group Rainforest Action Network called it one of the most important corporate advances in forest protection since Home Depot's commitment to stop selling wood from endangered forests. Jennifer Krill, Old Growth Campaigns Director for Rainforest Action Network, said, "With such strong leadership from Boise and its customers, we expect it's only a matter of time before the rest of the industry follows suit. "While the Bush administration is selling out the American people by allowing even more commercial logging on taxpayer-owned land, Boise has shown what a real initiative for healthy forests looks like," she added. "Boise's commitment demonstrates that industrial evolution is possible. It should serve as a wakeup call to loggers: evolve or go extinct." Rainforest Action Network Wednesday challenged other wood products companies to follow suit. It sent letters to what it calls the 12 most environmentally destructive U.S. forest products companies challenging them to meet or beat Boise's commitment. Among its "Dirty Dozen" are Bowater (NYSE: BOW), Georgia-Pacific (NYSE: GP), International Paper (NYSE: IP), Louisiana-Pacific (NYSE: LPX), MeadWestvaco (NYSE: MWV), Plum Creek Timber (NYSE: PCL), Potlatch (NYSE: PCH), Rayonier (NYSE: RYN), Sierra Pacific Industries, Sweetheart Holdings, Universal Forest Products (Nasdaq: USPI) and Weyerhaeuser (NYSE: WY)."
Weyerhaeuser to Close Two Ore. Operations. Associated Press, August 15, 2003. "Weyerhaeuser to Close Two Operations in Oregon, Blame Shutdown on Poor Market Conditions... will shut down two mills in Oregon and lay off nearly 200 people as a result of poor market conditions and continuing efforts to cut costs. The forest products company will close a containerboard mill in North Bend, Ore. The mill was closed temporarily in early July as the company waited for the market to recover. The mill's 158 employees will stay on the payroll until the official closure date of Oct. 13. The Federal Way-based company expects that by the end of the year, it will also close a plant in Junction City, Ore., which produced laminated veneer lumber and has employed 128 people. Some jobs will be transferred to operations in Eugene and Stayton, the company said, with a net layoff of about 38 people. Weyerhaeuser estimates the closures will result in a $25 million after-tax charge, or 11 cents a share, for the third quarter. After the cuts, Weyerhaeuser will employ about 5,000 people in Oregon and about 57,000 worldwide."
Boise Cascade Suffers New Defeat in Chile. GeoAustral Forest & Community news release, July 2003. "Boise Cascade Corporation has suffered a new blow against its attempt to develop the biggest timber project in the history of the destruction of Chilean temperate rainforests. The project Astillas Cascada Chile (Chile Cascade Chips) is the result of a joint venture between Boise Cascade Corporation and Maderas Cóndor, S.A. Its objective was the creation of the biggest chip plant and manufacture of synthetic wood board (Over Strand Board) in the world, a 200 million dollar investment. To carry out this idea, and to gain access to the most important temperate rainforests in the world, Boise Cascade Corporation engaged in some of the worst influence trafficking and corrupt politics in Chile, obtaining environmental permits, legal authorization to operate as well as acquiring the property necessary to set up the plant in the Ilque area, 16 miles south of the city of Puerto Montt. One of the most important properties, the heart of the project, belonged to the government (public lands) and was ceded by the Chilean government in a questionable direct lease transaction in 1998. But after 5 years of renting this public land, Lakes Region's Ministry of National Assets terminated the contract as of June 1st, not having received from Boise Cascade Corporation any appeal or reconsideration in the preceding weeks. Since July 2003, the property has officially been returned to the national heritage of all Chileans. Boise Cascade's loss of this valuable property is in addition to a 200,000 dollar fine for destroying archeological sites and the revocation of permits to construct the port for shipping chips. These events signal the slow death sentence of Boise Cascade in Chile, but companies such as Louisiana Pacific, Simpson Timber Company, Rayonier and others are still in operation. For further information, contact email@example.com
Land Offsets Lumber Losses. By Bradley Meacham, Seattle Times, July 26, 2003. "Weyerhaeuser's profit more than doubled in the latest quarter, but the gains didn't come from turning trees into boards and paper. The world's largest lumber company said its profit of $157 million, or 71 cents a share, in the three months through June came mainly from selling the 104,000-acre Snoqualmie Tree Farm, rather than from its core wood and paper businesses. The latest profit compares with $72 million, or 32 cents a share, a year ago. Total sales were flat at $4.9 billion..."
Weyerhaeuser to cut 330 jobs, close Ontario mill. Reuters, July 15, 2003.
Weyerhaeuser Announces Restructuring at Dryden, Ontario Operations. Company news release, July 15, 2003.
Boise Cascade Move Seen As Timber Exit, By Bob Fick, Associated Press, July 15, 2003. "Boise Cascade Corp.'s billion-dollar acquisition of OfficeMax has raised questions about the one-time lumber company's continued presence in the timber industry. Chairman George Harad said any decision on Boise Cascade's role in timber won't be made before late next year. But analysts believe the company's $1.2 billion cash and stock bid for Cleveland-based OfficeMax Inc. deal completes Boise Cascade's shift from manufacturing to distribution. OfficeMax, the third biggest U.S. office products retailer, will more than double the size of Boise Cascade's office products distribution business... For years the market had been expecting Boise Cascade to be taken over or broken up and sold off because its parts were more valuable than the stock was trading for... The OfficeMax acquisition, however, not only dilutes Boise Cascade stock because more is being issued to buy the retailer but also delays any decision on the future of the paper production and building supply segments. Wilde believes that delay leaves the stock price vulnerable if the merger hits any rough spots... Don Roberts of CIBC World Markets Inc. blamed Boise Cascade's paper and wood products operations for holding the stock value in check and suggested any overall review would conclude they both should be jettisoned. In comments to analysts and reporters Monday, Harad refused to concede that the sale or spinoff of those operations was a forgone conclusion. But he also agreed that shareholder value lies in distribution. "We've now moved from the time I became CEO (in 1994) from a business mix that was two-thirds manufacturing and one-third distribution to a business mix after this transaction that will be 20 percent manufacturing and 80 percent distribution," Harad said. Of last year's $7.4 billion in sales, office products distribution totaled $3.5 billion and distribution of paper and wood products the company manufactured accounted for nearly $3 billion more. Boise Cascade was the nation's fourth largest wood and paper products company last year behind International Paper, Weyerhaeuser Co. and Georgia Pacific. A decade ago, the paper and building products segments, including distribution, provided $3.2 billion of the company's $3.9 billion in sales. The timber company formed by the 1957 merger of the Boise Payette Lumber Co. and the Cascade Lumber Co. now has just one plywood mill left in Idaho... "
Boise Cascade to purchase OfficeMax, By Joe Milicia, San Jose Mercury News, July 15, 2003. "Wood and paper products maker Boise Cascade will buy OfficeMax for nearly $1.2 billion in cash and stock, creating a stronger third player in the office products superstore category. Acquiring OfficeMax, the third-biggest U.S. office products retailer, will more than double the size of Boise Cascade's office products distribution business. OfficeMax had less than half the 2002 revenue of both Staples, the largest office retailer, and Office Depot, the second-largest superstore chain."
Deal To Increase Logging Under Nw Forest Plan On Old Railroad Lands. By Dan Berman, Greenwire, July 12, 2003. "The Bush administration has agreed to steps that could drastically increase the amount of logging allowed in California and Oregon under the Northwest Forest Plan, an outcome stemming from the settlement of a decade-old timber industry lawsuit. Under terms announced last week, the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management will "use their best efforts" to meet a timber harvest target of 1.1 billion board feet annually, a figure included in the original 1994 forest plan. To meet the goal, the federal government will focus on 2.2 million acres of Oregon & California Railroad grant lands.... A coalition of 18 counties with O&C Railroad lands maintains the federal government never should have included the railroad grant lands in the Northwest Forest Plan and contend the subsequent cutback in logging has caused financial hardship in those areas since 1994. Those counties receive half of all proceeds from the sale of timber from the railroad lands. The 2.2 million acres of railroad land produced nearly 1 billion board feet of timber annually before the Northwest Forest Plan was adopted, according to Tom Partin, president of the American Forest Resource Council. If those lands are reopened to logging, "It's a good deal for the O&C counties, which have always had a question about what the management strategy should be." The settlement agreement must still be approved by U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson. His endorsement would end the case filed by the American Forest Resource Council and the Association of O&C Counties in 1994. Environmentalists have criticized the Bush administration for what they call a pattern of "sue and settle" agreements. Such agreements, environmentalists say, allow the federal government to take advantage of industry lawsuits to make important regulatory changes..."
Weyerhaeuser to Outsource Operation of Amory Chip Mill. July 2, 2003.
Weyerhaeuser to Sell Most Chatham County, N.C., Forest Holdings. June 2, 2003 (The News & Observer - Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News via COMTEX) -- Forest products giant Weyerhaeuser plans to sell most of its land in Chatham County this year, putting 8,815 acres on the market just as developers are busy turning the county's forests into houses and golf courses. The company does not yet have buyers for the land, which will be sold through a bid process that starts in July. But the sale likely will further Chatham's transition to a Triangle suburb, said Gary Phillips, a real estate agent and former county commissioner. "What this means is a massive conversion of open space into residential building lots," Phillips said. Altogether, Weyerhaeuser plans to sell 344,000 acres in Tennessee and the Carolinas this year. The company acquired the land when it took over Willamette Industries last year, and company spokeswoman Susan Larkin said it no longer meets the company's long-term needs..."
Weyerhaeuser's world: Forest giant branches out to fertile Uruguay, By Bradley Meacham, Seattle Times, June 2, 2003. "This is where Weyerhaeuser came to grow trees that mature more than four times faster than in much of North America. The company has begun what could be a $1 billion investment to turn a swath of this pampas region into a farm of evenly spaced pine and eucalyptus trees that will become expensive decorative wood - all produced at a fraction of the current cost. This project is a gamble for Weyerhaeuser, struggling with debt and a slumping lumber market at home, but one its executives say they can't afford not to take. World demand for wood is growing, and Weyerhaeuser is thinking globally about how to capture more of the market. The stakes are even higher for Uruguay, a troubled nation with virtually no forests that lured the company with big financial incentives. Covering 321,000 acres, an area six times the size of Seattle, Weyerhaeuser's Uruguayan tree farms are changing this small country's economy and culture, and promise to impact the environment in ways that aren't yet clear..."
Big timber: The world of Weyerhaeuser, By Hal Bernton, Seattle Times, June 1, 2003. " Basted by 800 years of rain, the cedars in this Vancouver Island valley have fattened to old-growth trees of classic proportions. Some, with massive fluted trunks, measure a dozen or more feet across. Their tops - broken time and again - have resprouted in pitchfork shapes that claw the sky. "If you tried to log this forest in the States, there would be a hippie chained to every tree," said Ken Wu, an organizer for the Western Canada Wilderness Committee. Weyerhaeuser has logged more than 800 acres in this valley and in coming years plans to log most of the big timber on 5,800 more acres. The Walbran is a small corner of Weyerhaeuser's logging domain in Canada, which now stretches from the rain-soaked valleys of Vancouver Island to the slender pines of the interior plateaus, to the scraggly, slow-growing spruce and hardwoods forests of the northern regions of Saskatchewan, Alberta and Ontario. Altogether, Weyerhaeuser holds long-term rights to log from more than 50,000 square miles of Canadian public lands - an area nearly the size of the state of New York."
Inland forests: more cutting, more controversy, By Hal Bernton, Seattle Times, June 1, 2003.
1,700 acres set aside in Swan Valley, Missoulian, May 21, 2003. Land trust, Plum Creek, forest agree to deal Rich in wildlife and scenery, almost 1,700 acres in the upper Swan Valley will be forever protected from development under a three-way, $8.7 million agreement announced Tuesday. Brokered by the Trust for P..
Weyerhaeuser Will Market 344,000 Acres of Timberlands In Tennessee and the Carolinas. Company news release, May 19, 2003.
Hancock Timber Resource Group Completes Acquisition Of Snoqualmie Tree Farm from Weyerhaeuser. Company news release, May 16, 2003.
Weyerhaeuser To Contest Alder Lawsuit Decision. Company news release, April 21, 2003.
Timber giant loses antitrust case, By Bradley Meacham and Hal Bernton, Seattle Times, April 19, 2003. "A Portland jury yesterday found that Weyerhaeuser violated federal antitrust laws by manipulating a key lumber market, and ordered damages that will cost the company $79 million. In a verdict that could have ramifications for the company's broader business strategy, the jury agreed with two former Weyerhaeuser rivals that the company built a dominant position in alder markets as part of a long-term campaign to drive them out of business. "It's a huge victory for the independent family-owned sawmills of the Pacific Northwest," said Michael Haglund, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs. Weyerhaeuser, in a bid to compete in a rapidly consolidating global industry, has acquired a series of smaller companies to expand its geographic reach and strengthen its position in several niche markets. The company controls about 70 percent of the $400 million Northwest alder industry, which employs more than 6,000 people in Washington and Oregon..."
Suits accuse Weyerhaeuser of violating antitrust laws, By Hal Bernton and Bradley Meacham, Seattle Times, April 29, 2003. "Weyerhaeuser was hit with two lawsuits yesterday seeking more than $600 million in damages for alleged violations of federal antitrust laws in the Pacific Northwest alder milling industry. The lawsuits were filed in U.S. District Court by the same Portland law firm that earlier this month won a $79 million antitrust jury award for Ross-Simmons, the owners of a now defunct Longview alder sawmill. That law firm includes Michael Haglund, who has helped draft the lawsuits. Alder is a one-time weed tree now used to make furniture, guitars and a variety of other products. The Pacific Northwest alder industry, which generates about $400 million annually, is dominated by Federal Way-based Weyerhaeuser. But alder milling is just a small part of Weyerhaeuser's global operations that are largely focused on softwoods such as fir or pine. "These charges are an affront to the employees of the Weyerhaeuser hardwood facilities who have worked so hard to make their mills competitive in a time when Pacific Northwest companies have come under increasing pressure from international competitor," said company spokesman Frank Mendizabal. He said Weyerhaeuser intends to defend itself against the new lawsuits and contest the judgment in the previous case. Like the earlier Ross-Simmons suit, these two new alder lawsuits claim that Weyerhaeuser illegally wielded monopoly power to try to drive competitors out of business. In addition to damages, the new lawsuits seek to force Weyerhaeuser to sell off some of its alder mills. One lawsuit was filed by Coast Mountain Hardwoods, which operated a sawmill in Delta, British Columbia until it was acquired by Weyerhaeuser in September 2000. Prior to the acquisition, Weyerhaeuser had a business relationship with Coast Mountain. The suit alleges that Weyerhaeuser used "fraudulent means" to maintain Coast Mountain in a weak financial position prior to the September 2000 takeover. The lawsuit seeks $174 million in damages, which would be tripled under federal antitrust laws to $516 million. The second lawsuit was filed by four alder mills in the Pacific Northwest: Westwood Lumber Co., Cascade Hardwoods Inc., Morton Alder Mills and Alexander Lumber Mill Inc. All four are in operation. The Northwest mills allege that Weyerhaeuser tried to monopolize the alder supplies through a series of predatory practices that manipulated log markets. They seek more than $33 million in damages, which would also be tripled under federal law. The lawsuits claim that Weyerhaeuser now controls about 75 percent of the alder sawmill industry, and ask for divestiture so the company's share declines to 40 percent.
Weyerhaeuser's loss tied to antitrust case, By Bradley Meacham, Seattle Times, April 26, 2003. "Weyerhaeuser reported a quarterly loss in order to pay damages in a federal antitrust ruling against it and cover costs in its slumping lumber business. The Federal Way company said it lost $54 million, or 24 cents a share, in the first three months of the year. It had profit of $30 million, or 14 cents a share, during the same period a year earlier. The loss resulted from a $52 million charge to cover legal damages after a Portland jury found that the company built a dominant position in alder markets to force rivals out of business. Weyerhaeuser said it will fight that ruling. Other charges included $34 million to close mills and $24 million in U.S. duties on lumber that Weyerhaeuser imports from Canada. Without the charges, the company's profit would have been 19 cents, in line with analyst forecasts. Total sales rose to $4.6 billion during the first quarter, up from $4.0 billion a year earlier. Slumping profit is squeezing Weyerhaeuser even as it tries to pay down debt from its $8 billion purchase last year of Willamette Industries, a combination designed to make it a bigger player in the global forest-products business. The company has announced about 3,000 job cuts in the past year..."
Ruling to mean loss for Weyerhaeuser, By Bradley Meacham, Seattle Times, April 22, 2003. "Weyerhaeuser said it will report a quarterly loss after a federal jury ruled that it violated antitrust laws by manipulating a key lumber market. A Portland jury last week agreed with two former Weyerhaeuser rivals that the company built a dominant position in alder markets as part of a long-term campaign to drive them out of business. The jury awarded damages of $26.25 million, an amount that is automatically tripled under antitrust law. Yesterday the Federal Way-based company said it is setting aside $52 million to cover damages even as it fights the ruling..."
Weyerhaeuser Sells 30,000 Acres Near Sisters, Oregon to Land Company for $10.8 Million. Campbell Group LLC, Timber Trends, April 2003.
Plum Creek won't pay for 2000 blazes, Missoulian, April 15, 2003. Plum Creek Timber Co. "respectfully declines" to take any responsibility for two wildfires ignited by loggers on its timberland at Lolo Pass during the summer of 2000 - or for the $11 million the U.S. Forest Service spent fighting those fires...
Plum Creek billed $11 million for fires, Missoulian, March 19, 2003. Forest Service says company must pay cost of two blazes ignited by loggers in 2000 The U.S. Forest Service has billed Plum Creek Timber Co. more than $11 million for firefighting and rehabilitation costs from two wildfires ignited by loggers at Lolo...
Weyerhaeuser to Close Plywood Operation at Millport, Alabama. Company news release, March 3, 2003.
Weyerhaeuser land sales' top transactions. by George Erb, Puget Sound Business Journal, March 3, 2003. "The largest real estate deals in the Puget Sound region typically involve buildings, but one of the largest transactions of 2002 was all about trees - more than 122,000 acres of them. Federal Way-based Weyerhaeuser Co. last year sold 122,650 acres of timberland in three counties to the Hancock Timber Resource Group of Boston for about $222 million. It was the largest timberland transaction last year in Washington, Oregon and Idaho combined, and one of the five largest timber deals in Washington in the last 10 years, said Don Bryan, president and designated broker of The Timber Exchange, a Portland-based timberland broker. In a single transaction late last year, Weyerhaeuser sold to Hancock Timber its 115,000-acre White River Tree Farm, which is located on the western slopes of the Cascades. That deal involved: 62,000 acres in Pierce County worth an estimated $113.7 million, making it the county's largest real estate deal of the year when ranked by dollar value. 35,000 acres in King County worth about $64.2 million. It was the fourth most-valuable transaction in the county in 2002. 18,000 acres in Lewis County worth an estimated $32.5 million. In a separate but related deal, the Weyerhaeuser Co. Foundation sold 7,650 acres in King County to Hancock Timber for about $11 million... Weyerhaeuser decided to part with its White River Tree Farm after acquiring Portland-based Willamette Industries Inc. last year for $7.9 billion. The deal lead to a thorough re-examination of the company's strategic assets. Willamette either owned or managed about 1.7 million acres of timberland, and its acquisition increased Weyerhaeuser's forest holdings in the United States to 7.4 million acres. About 30 percent of the company's timberland is located in Washington and Oregon. Weyerhaeuser could sell another 100,000 acres in King County later this year. Prospective buyers are talking to the company about acquiring its Snoqualmie Tree Farm, which is located in the Cascade foothills east of the suburban Eastside. The Evergreen Forest Trust, a Seattle-based nonprofit, last year signed a one-year purchase agreement to buy the property, provided it got congressional approval for a new kind of bond financing. But Congress adjourned without acting on the financing plan, and the purchase agreement expired in January. Timberland deals are nothing new for Weyerhaeuser. The company routinely buys and sells about 150,000 acres of timberland a year, Mendizabal said. Even with the White River sale, Weyerhaeuser still owns about 1.2 million acres in Washington..."
Catellus to Reorganize as REIT. March 3, 2003. "Catellus Development Corporation today announced that its Board of Directors has authorized the company to restructure its business operations in order to qualify as a real estate investment trust (REIT), effective January 1, 2004. The REIT conversion, which is subject to shareholder approval, is intended to provide investors with a stable cash return from Catellus' predominantly industrial rental portfolio, while continuing to offer growth opportunities through the company's proven development skill... "The current management team has spent the past several years profitably transforming what was one of the country's largest land portfolios into predominantly industrial rental property and capital that has been reinvested back into our business... Catellus plans to continue its mixed-use development projects currently underway. In particular, the company will continue to manage the Mission Bay development in San Francisco, Los Angeles Union Station, Santa Fe Depot in San Diego, Pacific Commons in Fremont, California, the redevelopment of the Robert Mueller Airport in Austin, Texas, and the redevelopments of the Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo, California, and the Alameda Naval station in Alameda, California..."
Plum Creek land sales subject of public meeting, Missoulian, Jan 14, 2003. The future of about 3,400 acres of Plum Creek Timber Co. land in the northern Swan Valley will be discussed at a public meeting in Condon on Wednesday. The timber company plans to sell about 20,000 acres of its holdings over the next five to seven years...
Plum Creek Completes Wisconsin Timberland Acquisition Company news release, Dec. 3, 2002. "Plum Creek Timber Company, Inc. (NYSE:PCL) announced today that it had completed the previously announced purchase of forestlands in the North Central U.S. from Stora Enso North America Corp., a division of Stora Enso Oyj (NYSE: SEO). The timberland, located primarily in Northern Wisconsin, contains a diversified mix of timber types and age profiles including mature mixed hardwood stands, mixed natural conifer stands, and hardwood and conifer plantations. In addition, Plum Creek announced that it had entered into a fiber supply agreement with Stora Enso North America to supply a portion of the annual harvest from Plum Creek lands in the region to Stora Enso production facilities. Plum Creek is one of the largest landowners in the nation with 8.1 million acres of timberlands in every region of the United States and ten wood product manufacturing facilities in the Northwest."
Plum Creek to Acquire 309,000 Acres of Timberland in North Central U.S. Company news release, Sep 19, 2002. "Plum Creek Timber Company, Inc. (NYSE:PCL) announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase 309,000 acres of forestlands in the North Central U.S. from Stora Enso North America Corp., a division of Stora Enso Oyj (NYSE:SEO), for $142 million in cash. Plum Creek expects to complete the acquisition in the fourth quarter of 2002. The purchase consists of 306,000 acres of timberland in Northern Wisconsin and 3,000 acres in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The forestlands contain a diversified mix of timber types and age profiles including mature mixed hardwood stands, mixed natural conifer stands, and hardwood and conifer plantations. Plum Creek will finance the transaction using funds available under an existing line of credit. "Plum Creek already owns and manages 250,000 acres of productive forests in Wisconsin... Plum Creek is one of the largest landowners in the nation with over 7.8 million acres of timberlands in every region of the United States and ten wood product manufacturing facilities in the Northwest."
Grant brings forest easement near completion, Missoulian, Sept 17, 2002. 140,000 acres would be protected under conservation agreement The $32 million campaign to buy the subdivision rights to 140,000 acres of Plum Creek Timber Co. forestland in the Thompson and Fisher river valleys moved nearer to completion...
Plum Creek Brings Suit to Protect Native Fish Habitat Conservation Plan from Environmental Groups' Claims Company news release, Aug 9, 2002. "Plum Creek Timber Company, Inc., (NYSE:PCL) today announced the filing of a lawsuit to protect its Native Fish Habitat Conservation Plan (NFHCP), from organizations seeking to invalidate the plan. Plum Creek said its action is a direct result of a June 12, 2002 letter from the Pacific Rivers Council, Trout Unlimited, and Montana Trout Unlimited announcing their intent to bring legal action to invalidate the NFHCP, which was approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in 2000. Plum Creek has taken this action to obtain judicial confirmation that the Services were correct in approving the NFHCP. Plum Creek emphasized that although today's action names two federal agencies as defendants, it was the unjustified claims by the three environmental organizations that prompted the lawsuit."
Plum Creek sues to keep habitat plan, Missoulian, Aug 9, 2002. Move seeks to stave off lawsuits over protection of bull trout In a move designed to make moot a possible lawsuit from conservation groups, Plum Creek Timber Co. on Thursday filed suit against Montana Trout Unlimited, Trout Unlimited and the Pacific Rivers Council...
Lawmakers debate result of tax cuts, Missoulian, July 28, 2002. As the Montana Legislature prepares for a special session Aug. 5, some Democrats are questioning whether the state would be facing its current fiscal predicament if lawmakers had not handed out nearly $500 million in tax relief since 1995... DePratu said lowering the business equipment property tax to 3 percent from 6 percent was a key factor in Plum Creek Timber Co.'s construction of a $70 million fiberboard plant in Columbia Falls..."
Mineral rights don't include hydrocarbons, by Daryl Gadbow, Missoulian, July 27, 2002. The 900,000 acres of mineral rights in western Montana that Canyon Resources Corp. is trying to sell in a public auction Aug. 6 do not include the ownership rights to rock, gravel, gas, oil or other hydrocarbon substances. The mineral rights Canyon Resources are selling are restricted to the rights to mine ores and minerals only, according to Larry Mitchell, a research analyst in the Montana Legislature's Environmental Policy Office. In the Aug. 6 auction, which will take place simultaneously at 11:30 a.m. at the Holiday Inn Parkside in Missoula and Yogo Inn in Lewistown, Canyon Resources' mineral rights will be packaged in 82 parcels ranging in size from 700 acres to 26,000 acres. The minimum bid will be $5 an acre. However, as many as 3,000 individual landowners have until Aug. 5 to "pre-empt" the sale by purchasing the mineral rights beneath their own property for up to $500 an acre. In an interview with the Missoulian last month, Mitchell said landowners have little reason to fear that their property would be used for a new hard-rock mine. But he suggested landowners might have to worry more about a gravel pit, "as mineral rights include gravel, talc and peat." "That was an error," Mitchell said Friday. "You can't buy rights to gravel from Canyon Resources. Someone else owns them." Just who that owner might be, he said, is hard to tell. Arco, the company that sold Canyon Resources the mineral mining rights, retained the gas and oil rights to much of the acreage involved in the auction. Arco also owns some of the rock and gravel rights to the acreage. In some cases, Arco has sold the rock, gravel, gas and oil rights to someone else. No matter who owns the rights, however, they must compensate the surface landowner for any damage caused to the property by retrieving the mineral or other material, Mitchell said. He recommends that landowners check their deeds and titles to find out for sure what property and rights they own and what they don't. Canyon Resources has tried for years to sell the 900,000 acres of mineral rights in western Montana, but has yet to find a buyer. Plum Creek Timber Co., which owns 70 percent of the surface rights affected by the upcoming auction, has turned down previous offers to purchase the mineral rights from Canyon Resources."
Canyon auction criticized, Missoulian, July 22, 2002. State lawmaker tells landowners not to fall for firm's 'scare' tactics Canyon Resources Corp. has tried for years to sell the 900,000 acres of mineral rights it owns in western Montana and has yet to find a buyer, state officials said...
A golden opportunity? Maybe not, Missoulian, July 17, 2002. Landowners feeling pressured to buy mineral rights might not have much to worry about. Canyon Resources hasn't had much luck digging for gold, silver or copper. Now it's mining anxiety. The mining company that has been thwarted in its effort...
Mineral auction infuritates, Missoulian, July 16, 2002. Landowners miffed at Canyon sale of rights below their land Amid grumbles of "highway robbery" and "scam," auctioneers explained to more than 150 area landowners Monday that Canyon Resources Corp. owns the mineral rights beneath their homes...
Canyon Resources sets auction date, Missoulian, July 11, 2002. Mineral rights, land sale is biggest of its type Canyon Resources Corp. has set an Aug. 6 auction date for the sale of 900,000 acres of mineral rights and 650 patented acres in western Montana, as well as 850 acres in the North Moccasin Mountains...
[Plum Creek real-estate advertisement]. Wall Street Journal, June 12, 2002.
[Plum Creek] harvests under scrutiny, Missoulian, April 4, 2002. "The U.S. Forest Service is investigating six possible instances of "timber trespass" by Plum Creek Timber Co. in the upper Lochsa River drainage of Idaho, not far from the Montana state line... Special agent Roger Seewald said the government has "a keen interest" in a half-dozen areas where Plum Creek apparently cut trees in the Clearwater National Forest without the Forest Service's permission. In another case, the company apparently built a road across a section of national forest land without a permit - and after being told not to... Last fall, several Forest Service employees and contractors working near the Montana-Idaho border, just over Lolo Pass, came across six areas where Plum Creek had cut timber on its own land - and did not stop cutting when it crossed over onto national forest land. On both sides of the border, public and private ownership alternates from one section to the next, in a checkerboard pattern... Checkerboard ownership - created by the government's land grants to railroads when the West was opened for settlement..."
State should look at buying timberland, Missoulian, Feb 26, 2002. As Plum Creek continues its program of selling off land it doesn't want, Montanans should look out for their own interests. Plum Creek Timber Co. last week announced plans to sell 20,000 acres of forest land in western Montana's Swan Valley....
Plum Creek to sell part of Swan holdings, Missoulian, Feb 24, 2002. Timber company prepared to release 20,000 acres of land beginning this spring CONDON - Plum Creek Timber Co. officials announced last week plans to sell 20,000 acres of their vast land holdings in the Swan Valley. The company owns 83,000 acres of timber...
Canyon to sell its rights, Missoulian, Feb 14, 2002. Canyon Resources Corp. will auction off the mineral rights to nearly 1 million acres in western Montana, including some Flathead lakefront property and as many as 700,000 acres of industrial timberland...
Acquisition is likely to diversify Plum Creek. By Bill Virgin, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, October 5, 2001.