CARSON CITY, Nev. (News 4 & Fox 11) — New company, Tahoe Forest Products (TFP), is bringing a new sawmill to Carson City, Nevada. It has been decades since a new mill was built in the area. TFP bought the land from the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and Califonia -- sharing a common goal of maintaining forest health and resilience.
TFP said the new mill fills the missing link needed to thin our forests and keep wildfire natural by providing a hyper convenient location for forest material to go.
The single biggest challenge to increasing the pace and scale of forest restoration work in Tahoe is the lack of a viable place to take the excess fuel in our forest," said John Jones, Tahoe Fund board member and chair of its forest health committee.
The work is already underway as well as TFP is purchasing logs from the clean-up efforts happening in and around the Sierra-at-Tahoe Ski Resort, impacted heavily by the Caldor Fire last summer.
The sawmill location will be built on 40 acres of land directly off US-50 -- right behind the Walmart, Petco and Costco.
According to TFP, they will "use approximately 10 acres for buildings and processing facilities and 30 acres for log storage. The plant will include the sawmill building and rough lumber sorter, dry kilns, and a planer mill and sorter to finish lumber for shipping. In total, the buildings will cover 25,000 square feet and will not exceed a height of 35 feet."
Kevin Leary, TFP Chairman, said removing density allows for trees to flourish naturally without competing for nutrients and this has the added effect of reducing a fuel load that has led to extreme fire behavior in recent years.
Economics, according to Leary, are also an aspect of what they hope the mill will do for the region:
"The economics of having a mill around here are also pretty attractive. Our mill, as the crow flies is nine miles from Lake Tahoe itself and just a handful of miles from the Tahoe Basin. So we are a very short driving distance for most of the logs that are gonna come from around here. I suspect that a third to half of what we produce on the lumber side can be sold into local markets. We've even had interest from some of the larger local lumber distributors, some people building some landmark properties locally that would love to participate in sort of a local, sustainable supply chain to build with locally sourced and produced lumber."
As far as timeline goes, Leary said TFP finalized their lease with the Washoe Tribe in July and they are now grading the 40 acres for development. Construction of the mill starts in the next several weeks, said Leary, and has an expectation of processing lumber at the beginning of 2023.
"The minimum number of road miles to the next closest mill is I believe, over 100. So you know, it's a fraction of the miles required to get to the next nearest mill, " said Leary, who emphasized that this will make loggers more confident with contracts for work in the Tahoe Basin.
According to TFP, there will be employment opportunities for Tribal members and the local community when the mill is finished.