PRIEST RIVER — The state auctioned another U.S. Forest Service timber sale Thursday, March 1, as part of a state-federal partnership to increase management activities on federal lands in Idaho.
The Jasper II West timber sale on the Idaho Panhandle National Forests is Idaho’s third timber sale sold under Good Neighbor Authority, a federal law that enables the Forest Service to partner with the Idaho Department of Lands to achieve restoration and resilient landscape objectives across ownership boundaries in Idaho. It is the first GNA timber sale on the Idaho Panhandle National Forests, according to a press release.
Stimson Lumber Company submitted the winning bid of $420 per thousand board feet to purchase the Jasper II West timber sale contract, which will treat 306 acres north of Priest River by removing dead and dying timber. There were three bidders, resulting in the final net bid amount coming in about $850,000 over the sale’s appraised price. The timber sale revenues will reimburse the state for its expenses, and any remaining funds will be used across the Idaho Panhandle National Forests to increase integrated land management restoration projects.
The project’s purpose is to reduce fuels and improve forest health. An estimated 3.5 million board feet of timber will be harvested. New trees will be planted and natural regeneration will occur.
“We are excited to use Good Neighbor Authority to sell the Jasper II West timber sale. Partnering with Idaho Department of Lands increases the Forest’s capacity to do more work on the ground,” said acting Forest Supervisor Holly Jewkes. “The Idaho Panhandle National Forests has also been successful working with the counties, collaborative groups, tribes, and other partners to develop our Five Year Action Plan, which also incorporates stewardship and traditional timber sales.”
“Good Neighbor Authority is an important tool that holds the potential for the Forest Service to more fully implement its forest plans in Idaho,” IDL Director David Groeschl said. “By utilizing IDL foresters and staff along with streamlined State contracting processes, federal land managers are better able to achieve their targets and execute much needed restoration work that will boost jobs and improve the lands’ resiliency to fire and infestations of insect and disease.”
Agreements are in place on four national forests in Idaho with 11 active GNA projects and ten more proposed GNA projects across Idaho. Timber harvesting already has begun on two timber sales in the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests.
Over the next three to five years, these projects will result in treating 17,000 acres and harvesting 75 million board feet of timber with an estimated stumpage value of $17 million. The added fiber supports approximately 1,500 jobs, more than $50 million in wages and salaries, and more than $288 million in sales of goods and services.
Two additional GNA timber sales are planned for the Idaho Panhandle National Forests – the Hanna Flats project near Priest Lake and the Hard Rock project, adjacent to the Jasper II West north of Priest River. The timber sales are expected to be auctioned in 2018 and 2019.
The March 1 timber sale auction and other planned GNA projects elsewhere in Idaho are the result of nearly three years of work between the state of Idaho, Forest Service, timber companies, the Panhandle Forest Collaborative, and the local community.