American Whitewater Statement on Pending Sale of SDS Lands
This past week a consortium that includes Twin Creeks Timber, The Conservation Fund, and WKO announced plans to acquire SDS Lumber and Timber Companies. This acquisition includes significant land holdings in the White Salmon River watershed as well as adjoining lands in the Little White Salmon, Klickitat, and Hood River watersheds that are critical to the health of these spectacular rivers. These lands also represent the traditional territory of the Yakama Nation ceded to the federal government in the treaty of 1855.
For years the local paddling community has accessed the White Salmon River across SDS lands with the Green Truss put-in being used as the traditional dividing point between the Farmlands and Green Truss runs on the White Salmon River. In partnership with Outdoor Alliance and the local paddling community, American Whitewater has published a Story Map that highlights the lands that are part of this transaction and the values they hold: https://arcg.is/SePWP
American Whitewater is pleased that entities with Northwest connections and deep expertise in timberlands, forest conservation, and mill operations have come together to acquire these private timber lands of environmental and community importance to the Columbia River Gorge.
While American Whitewater does not have additional information on the fate of specific parcels, we have worked with the local paddling community to share the critical importance of the Green Truss put-in as an access point and our interest in retaining an intact forested corridor along the Farmlands, Green Truss, and BZ runs. We have requested a seat at the table for our community at such time as the future owners are ready to have a dialogue on management and conservation of this important river corridor.
In a recent press release, Twin Creeks Timber, The Conservation Fund, and WKO released the following statements on their goals for the future of the property:
Green Diamond Resource Company, manager and investor in Silver Creek Capital Management’s Twin Creeks Timber, LLC, will acquire and manage the majority of the timberlands as working forests to support the local economy while upholding their long-standing practice of forest stewardship. “We want to ensure these timberlands will continue to provide economic and ecological benefits for generations to come,” said Douglas Reed, President of Green Diamond Resource Company.
The Conservation Fund will acquire a portion of the SDS properties and manage the conservation easement process and community engagement to ensure that lands with the highest natural, climate and community values are conserved. Larry Selzer, CEO of The Conservation Fund said, “We believe the SDS timberlands represent a once in a lifetime opportunity to demonstrate the balance of conservation and economic sustainability, and we will bring all of our accumulated forestry and real estate skills, our financial strength, and our operating success to this effort.”
Wilkins, Kaiser & Olsen, Inc. (WKO) will acquire and operate the Bingen mill and its related divisions under its newly formed subsidiary, Mt. Adams Forest Products. WKO operates a modern state of the art sawmill and planer mill with boiler and dry kilns, specializing in high quality kiln dried dimensional lumber. WKO’s affiliated company also owns and operates Mt. Hood Forest Products near Hood River, Oregon, which is a green Douglas-fir dimensional lumber producer. Between the two mills, production exceeds 300 million bd. ft. annually. “On behalf of our companies, I’d like to share how excited we are to acquire SDS Lumber. We have deep roots in Washington and Oregon and know well the positive legacy of SDS. We look forward to welcoming employees into our organizations, and shaping the future of these facilities,” said Bill Wilkins, CEO of WKO.
The consortium indicated that additional information will be shared at the time of closing. We anticipate that to occur by the end of the year and will keep the local paddling community apprised of what we hear as information becomes available.