Bear Creek Lumber

Quality. Value. Expertise. Since 1977

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Happy Holidays
from The Staff at Bear Creek Lumber
We will be closed
December 24, 25, 28, 31
and January 1

Volume 15 Number 12 December 2001

In This Issue:

Johnny Appleseed
Christmas Tree Tradition
Winter@ Bear Creek
Industry News
Updates from Past Stories
Tis The Season for Saving

The Year in Review At Bear Creek Lumber

2001 was a good year for Bear Creek Lumber. Sales increased, along with customer satisfaction.
Much of these positive results were due to staff innovations!
Our webmaster, Omaste Witkowski, found time to devote to a complete overhaul of our webpage, of which we are very proud. Thanks to our wonderful customers, who sent loads of pictures this year, we have many more applications highlighted as well as pictures of inventory taken here by staff. They have done extraordinary work making them into a resource we can all use.
Note that this newsletter is on-line, and interactive!

Merle in Montana

In the yard, we evaluated our milling capabilities. We didn’t make any big changes this year but are looking at some improvements for next year. We did secure the help of a new team of workers to run the milling. New mill assistant Pete Edwards is helping in a variety of ways towards expanding the services we can offer in the future.
We bought a new delivery truck this year which has been used non-stop since its purchase. It’s taken a lot of pressure off our ace driver, Ed Behrens, who is almost constantly on the road for us.

He brought back these photos of a jobsite where BCL 18-inch #1 cedar shakes with cedar door and window trim grace a new home.

On the national and international level, our delivery services continue to improve as our manager, Bennet Upper, celebrated his third year on the job.

Cabinet Mountains, Montana

In accounting, Melissa Hinkle continues to expand her skills with computerized billing, and linking up various functions cross- platform. She also supervised a fine crew of high school interns who keep the day-today paperflow better than ever. Her work load is helped along by the computer administrator, James Witkowski who has improved our servers so we self-host our webpage and email. He hopes to expand the fax server capabilities next year. Good job all around!
Mike Pilkinton, our yard supervisor, ran more wood in and out of the yard this year, with fewer people, than ever before. Complaints? The fewest ever. Amazing work throughout the entire department thanks to the work of Jim, Justin, Clint and Ray!
In sales, everyone can take some credit for the increase, but the sales manager Cloud and his team truly closed the deals which made the year what it was. Merle, Joe, Mark, Bob and Sy all received accolades throughout the year from their customers for excellent service and assistance.
Bear Creek Lumber has top quality products to sell. Our reputation is established. However, it's the people at Bear Creek that make it all work, and thanks to good equipment, a love of their jobs, and great customers like you, we have had possibly the best year ever.
Thank you for being part of our success!

Johnny Appleseed

By Sage Bannick

Christmas Trees

A Holiday Tradition Worth Celebrating

John Chapman AKA Johnny Appleseed helped to continue the migration of apples that started centuries ago. The first apple originated in the Caucuses Mountains in Western Asia. They were introduced to England in the third and fourth centuries during the Roman occupation.
Apples were first brought to America in 1623 where they quickly became a staple. Chapman started his westward migration in 1792 at the age of 18. He ventured ahead of other migrants and set up orchards in good loamy soil. He would fence in small open areas with downed trees and brush.
Chapman usually obtained seeds from cider mills but he was also known to barter with pioneer children for calico or ribbon. At least once annually Chapman would return to his orchards in Indiana and Ohio to check his crops. Most of his nurseries were small but his orchard near Maumice River had 15,000 trees.
As settlers would move in, Chapman would barter trees for food, clothing, and money or he would give the trees away to those in need of a break. True to folklore, Chapman refused to kill animals and was a friend to Native Americans and Pioneers alike. He also practiced herbal medicine and nursed
worn out horses back to health. A practical man, he truly used everything, including his cooking pot as a hat, a legend that is based in fact.
Writing in Johnny Appleseed - A Voice in the Wilderness, Ophia D. Smith summed up the life of the humble man of goodwill; in his earthly life, he was a one-man circulating library, a one-man humane society, a one-man clinic, a one-man missionary band, and a one-man emigrant-aid society, Johnny Appleseed did not need to die to find Heaven, for Heaven was in his heart.
The smell of a newly cut Christmas tree is one of the guilty pleasures of the Yuletide. While we love the tradition, we might feel guilty about cutting a young tree. Don’t worry. According to the National Arbor Day Foundation and Christmas Tree magazine, Christmas trees are both environmentally and economically wise choices. The top-selling trees are Fraser fir, balsam fir, Douglas fir, noble fir, and the Scotch, Virginia and white pines.
Christmas tree farms and related enterprises employ over 100,000 people full or part-time, most of them in rural communities where they make an economic impact. About 33 million trees are harvested annually, with approximately 330,000 ordered over the Internet or by catalog. For every tree harvested, two or more trees are planted each year. There are about one million acres dedicated to growing Christmas trees, and each acre provides the daily oxygen requirements for 18 people. Real Christmas trees are renewable, recyclable and biodegradable. So enjoy the season and the tree!
After a very busy fall, Bear Creek Lumber won’t exactly hibernate but we will go into a slower mode. Typically,our salesmen scale back their hours or take full weeks off; the yard may be closed on Fridays if there are no orders. Someone will always be here to talk to clients, but it may be a rotating staff rather than the same crew every day. This is a BCL tradition, dating back to our earliest days. Operating this far north, the daylight hours are short in December and January. Temperatures can get as low as twenty degrees below zero ( and sometimes even lower).
The snow can fall heavily, sometimes accumulating several feet at a time. Its not that any of this stops capitalism but it makes the pace more nature-based.
Winter is a great time to visit with our staff about next spring’s, summer’s or fall’s projects. Browse our web page for ideas. Take a tour of tthe warehouses with a staff member. Its also a good time to visit Bear Creek, especially if you like winter sports. We have alpine skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, hockey and Nordic skiing, not to mention snowshoeing trails minutes from the lumberyard gate. There are a number of great lodges ,and cabins to rent in the area also. Did I mention its usually sunny for most the winter, too! So come have some fun in the snow. We look forward to seeing you!

Inventory News

Housing starts had been predicted to fall after the Sept. 11 attack based on future activity that was already shaky before the attacks. Starts before September were up 2% for the year on average, with the Western sector up 4%, the South up 2%, the Midwest with no change and the East down 3%. Lowering interest rates still further should keep all construction relatively steady, although builders I have talked to denote a sense of hesitancy from their clients about next year’s projects. No one is canceling projects already underway, but some projects not begun have been canceled or delayed. The consensus is that if the government follows through with an economic stimulus package and rates stay low, there should be a return to normal activity by mid-2002, with a complete recovery underway in the construction industry the following year. These predications seem to hinge on the unknowns of terrorism, and war which could disrupt any assumption.After years of better than predicted housing activity, the trend is expected to continue as housing is currently proving to be a better investment than stocks or bonds for people with money to invest

Updates from Past Timberline Stories

Canadian Tariffs
The Bush administration decided to not only continue with a 19.3% tariff on Canadian lumber, but added an additional 12% on top of that in late October. With a 32% bond or cash deposit required on all lumber heading south from Canada, distressed producers are appealing both decisions to the World Trade Organization. More than 21,000 mill workers have lost jobs since the first duty was assessed in August. Overall British Columbia unemployment in October was 8.2 percent. One company has initiated a lawsuit for $250 million in damages against the U.S. government for levying the tariffs in an “arbitrary, discriminatory and capricious manner.” The Bush administration claims that Canada is dumping cheap lumber products on the U.S. market which negates any NAFTA trade agreement. Furthering sanctions will be decided this month. American producers have called for tariffs as high as 78%, a huge bit for builders if enacted. Most builders associations oppose the tariffs, as does Bear Creek Lumber.

Updated Website
Our webmaster really went nuts over the summer so if you haven’t visited our website lately, take a peak! There are many new pictures, more info on various products we have added to our line and this newsletter (as well as every newsletter since December 1996) which is available to download anytime.
New interactive features have also been added.
Retirees are a changing demographic.
Once happy to stay in their homes or communities, more are starting to opt for luxury accommodations in places like Florida, where their expectations of a more comfortable lifestyle can be realized.
Today’s retirees are willing to pay for prestige frills such as golf courses in their retirement communities. They prefer mixed age living arrangements rather than having only older residents within their environs. Only six years ago, according to AARP, 85% of seniors wanted to retire in their homes. Today’s senior has more disposable wealth and has traveled more extensively. Their interests are in a more stimulating environment, rather than a familiar one.
Of Fish and Fire
The United States Department of Agriculture issued a report on the deaths last spring of four firefighters in Winthrop , concluding that the crew themselves were mostly to blame for their own deaths. This conclusion was almost instantly rebuked by the surviving crew and the dead firefighter’s families and withdrawn when witnesses spoke up refuting the government’s evidence. The Forest Service is again reviewing its findings and Congress has scheduled hearings about the entire mess.
The issue of whether endangered fish were any factor was minimally addressed as insignificant despite local testimony to the contrary.
Meanwhile, the numbers of fish returning to the Columbia River basin were so great this fall that biologists were concerned that eggs laid by one species would be disturbed and possibly destroyed by the great numbers of the other later species returning. Since both species were technically endangered, a fishing season on the latter fish was proposed by the biologists. The area had once had a famous fishery during the winter that supported the local economy. The request was turned down by the federal government who said if the species were endangered, there had to be a open comment period before that fishery could be opened. By that time, the fish damage to the eggs in the streams would already be done. Rather than act, the government announced the issue would be studied further. This is not to be confused with an Oregon ruling where a federal judge ruled that hatchery fish cannot be treated differently than wild fish if they are genetically the same fish. Up until now fish could be listed as endangered if the number of wild fish were low despite huge numbers of returninghatchery raised fish of the same species and genetic background.