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September 20, 2017

Evan J. pretzer/lakeland times

Oneida County assistant forest director Paul Fiene, center with hat, briefs committee members on 2017 sales at the forestry committee meeting Wednesday.
Evan J. pretzer/lakeland times

Oneida County assistant forest director Paul Fiene, center with hat, briefs committee members on 2017 sales at the forestry committee meeting Wednesday.
9/9/2017 7:28:00 AM
Timber up in Oneida County
Wood sales highest in years
By Evan J. Pretzer
of the lakeland times

While speaking to the Oneida County Forestry Committee last Wednesday, county assistant forest director Paul Fiene briefed members on good news he didn't quite understand.

"Our timber sales to date are the highest ever," he said. "We've also had the highest August on record. How this is happening, I don't know."

Last month, the county sold more than $200,000 worth of wood to various logging companies and has done over $1 million worth of business so far in 2017.

Previously, yearly sales reached their high in 2014. Back then, the county sold a little over $900,000 worth of timber to buyers, meaning sales in 2017 have increased by about 10 percent.

According to Fiene, poor weather in the last few months should have prevented this from happening.

"It has definitely put us in a pretty good spot for the year, but with the amount of rain we've had, it hasn't seemed like it was extremely busy," he said.

When it rains, heavy machinery used for logging can sink into the soft ground and create serious ruts in the earth.

Under Oneida County rules, when this happens and is deemed excessive by the forestry and parks department, loggers either have to move to a drier area, shut down and wait for better weather or fix the ruts they have made.

In Fiene's view, these issues were avoided by having more efficient loggers working on area timber.

"If the ground is too wet, obviously guys can't work," he said. "But what also plays into the equation is we had a couple of loggers that were high output. So they could cut and move a lot of wood in a short period of time."

Evan J. Pretzer may be reached via email at

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