Sustainable forest products on Blakely Island

Sustainable Forest Products

Sustainable Forest Products

Dave Snavely’s world has come full circle.

In 1984 he graduated from Penn State University with a bachelor’s degree in forest science.  He spent the next 23 years working as a general contractor, and met Tom Crowley while working on Blakely Island.

Snavely milled cedar siding, trim, and beams from the property for Crowley’s home, when Crowley came up with the idea to make product for the local community, and 2,200 acres were set aside for the venture. A lumber milling operation that once stood on Thatcher Bay from 1879 to 1942 was reestablished, and Blakely Island Timber, LLC was launched in the spring of 2013.

Rain Shadow Consulting on Orcas was hired to put together a forest management plan. They provide consulting and management services to private and public land owners in northern Puget Sound, specializing in the protection and enhancement of rare ecological communities such as Garry oak woodlands and native prairies.

Certification from the Forest Stewardship Council was approved in the spring of 2015. FSC, founded in 1993, is an independent, nonprofit organization that protects forests for future generations.

The company produces kiln dried Island Fir flooring, paneling, and rough-cut select.  Island grown fir is much slower growing than mainland fir.  This slower tree growth produces tighter growth rings and results in a much denser and heavier wood than its mainland cousin. Though only a few miles of water separate the two, there is a world of difference in their characteristics.

During a tree’s annual growing season it puts on two types of wood. The spring wood is light colored, grows very fast and is very soft. The summer wood is much darker, grows more slowly, and is much denser.  Slow growing island fir has a much higher ratio of summer wood than its mainland cousin.

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