Why 18 Months for My Timber Contract?

Why 18 Months for My Timber Contract?

Many landowners are seeking Timber Management, but are confused by the length of our Timber Agreements. Most of our contracts are good for 18 months, and some are 24 months. Why do we do it this way? Why the long wait?

There are certain times of the year when logging is slowed down considerably. Every spring in Northern Michigan there are Frost Laws that restrict the amount of weight that can be hauled by trucks on certain roads. Over the course of winter the ground under the road becomes frozen, and in the late winter and spring that ground begins to thaw. The thaw traps water between the asphalt road surface and the still frozen frost layer underneath; this condition causes the road surface to be easily damaged by use, especially heavy trucks! There are many “All Season” roads that allow unrestricted trucking, during Frost Laws, due to their more robust construction, but many logging jobs are not on these main thoroughfares. When frost laws are on, logging is slowed down.

Another time of year that can slow down logging is hunting season. Many landowners in Northern Michigan are also avid sportsmen, who hunt on the same property that they want to harvest Timber from. Many Timber Agreements include clauses that prevent Timber Harvesting during a preferred hunting season. This provides for a more predictable hunt, and also ensures the safety of our logging crews. Our guys ARE out there during Rifle Season, working on jobs where the land is not being hunted, but it is still a time to be extra cautious. Logging is already one of the most dangerous professions, and gunfire certainly adds to the risk.

The finest quality logging operations are dependent on many things, and weather is easily the biggest factor. The trees being harvested can weigh thousands of pounds, and are being handled by large tractors, and then the logging trucks are loaded and extremely heavy too; when you add too wet ground to that equation you end up with a mess at best and at worst, an obstacle that can only be overcome by waiting for dry weather. The rain is not the only issue to contend with either! Wind can cause branches to break loose and come crashing to the ground unexpectedly. Windy days also make it difficult for Loggers to control the direction their tree will fall. I’ve seen first hand how unpredictable this scenario can be; I thought I was a reasonably safe distance from a falling tree, but that tree started a domino effect that had me running for cover! A  thaw/freeze cycle can turn your logging trails into skating rinks. Sub zero temps can make starting your machine impossible. There are myriad ways that weather can slow down Logging Operations.

Why are our contracts good for 18-24 months? This time allows us to harvest your Timber in the most effective, least invasive, and safest way possible. You’re property is your sanctuary, and something to be proud of; we want to help you keep it that way! We thank all of our Land Owners for their understanding of this policy, and for partnering with Silver Leaf Sawmill. We look forward to continuing our service to our community, by providing the best Timber Management to our Land Owners. Together we will keep producing the North’s finest quality hardwood lumber!

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