A sawmill under construction behind Carson Valley Plaza is expected to produce 50 million feet of lumber a year and employ around 40 people.
Logs from Sierra-at-Tahoe Ski Resort that were burned in the Caldor Fire have been arriving onsite all August.
Tahoe Forest Products in a partnership with Washoe Development Corp., an affiliate of Washoe Tribe of Nevada & California, formally announced leasing 40 acres to build the first significant sawmill in the region in decades.
“This project came about because there was no reasonable market for salvage logs and thinnings from the Tahoe Basin or from the Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest,” said Tahoe Forest Products CEO Jon Shinn. “A local sawmill is one of the critical missing links in beginning to address forest health and resilience, not to mention critical post-fire cleanup efforts from catastrophes like the Caldor Fire.”
The mill will cut mostly large fire salvage logs initially but plans to also add a small-log line to effectively process thinnings.
The Tribe’s Development Corp. Executive Director Wendy Loomis said they purposefully seek partners who support the Washoe Tribe’s mission and vision for preserving Mother Earth, supporting environmental sustainability and enhancing Washoe workforce development.
“TFP recognizes the importance of protecting the environment while respecting the Tribe’s cultural and conservation areas in and around Clear Creek,” she said. “This small parcel will enhance and sustain thousands of acres of sacred forest land previously inhabited by the Washoe people.”
About 10 acres of the 40-acre site will be used for buildings and processing facilities with the rest 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.
Logs will be processed into a wide range of products, including dry-surfaced 2-inch construction lumber, timbers, fence posts and landscape products from the fire, and boards and “factory” lumber for windows from the pine. Additionally, bark will be sold for landscaping and other uses, chips and sawdust will be sold to agricultural end-users and to powerplants, while planer shavings will go for animal bedding.