Rain keeping some loggers out of the woods
Wisconsin Public Radio
A wet summer is preventing some loggers from harvesting timber in northern Wisconsin.
Henry Schienebeck, Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association executive director, said heavy rains have been cutting into loggers' incomes.
"It's still a little bit difficult when it gets this wet to do anything at all as far as work goes," he said. "When the woods not flowing, the money's not flowing."
Schienebeck said they want to avoid damage to the forest floor and rutting on roads.
Cody Peters owns his own logging company in Ashland County. He said he and his two employees have lost three weeks of work so far.
"Now, if we get a couple rain days, then we'll try to work like 12 hours just to make up some lost time," Peters said.
If it doesn't dry up, Peters said the ground could be slow to freeze when it turns cold. He said that could slow down loggers looking to make up lost time this winter.
As loggers struggle, some counties may see their timber revenues decline if the loggers are unable to harvest wood, Jane Severt, Wisconsin County Forests Association executive director, said.
"It's tough on the loggers, and it's also tough on the land managers because they want to see the sales they've got sold get harvested," she said.
But, Eric Peterson, Iron County forest administrator, said weather challenges in recent years may lead the county to surpass last year's record sales of $3.3 million.
"One of the reasons for that, though, is we also had a large backlog of timber sales that were on the books that contractors just hadn't cut over the years due to poorer snow conditions in the winter time and wet summers that we've had over the previous years," Peterson said.
Peterson added the potential for lower revenues from timber sales may be more a result of a glut of wood on the market right now.
"But, typically, that's cyclical as well, and our timber sale contracts are typically two to three years anyway," Peterson said. "A lot of times contractors can try and ride out the low market conditions."
Counties may extend timber contracts with loggers if the weather continues to be an issue, Severt said.
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