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Anything But “Run of the Mill” at Pleasant River Lumber

April 16, 2015

The Electric Slasher at Pleasant River Lumber (Courtesy of Pleasant River Lumber)

The Electric Slasher at Pleasant River Lumber (Courtesy of Pleasant River Lumber)

It was a cold and blustery March day, but there was a good turnout for the Pleasant River Mill tour in Dover-Foxcroft. Pleasant River lumber is a family owned and operated company with a spruce mill in Dover-Foxcroft and a recently acquired mill in Jackman. They also have a sister company, Pleasant River Pine, in Hancock and Sanford. Pleasant River Lumber is an important business partner for DLLT, and provides Downeast Lakes Land Trust with a direct link to help the Maine economy and to literally get into people’s homes.

Aside from the impressive sights to be seen, good conversation was had by all over lunch which was generously donated by Pleasant River. Amongst other things, the topics included how the mill is run, pest and disease issues, and the cost of energy.

The Dover Mill produces 90,000,000 board feet annually. This comes in the form of spruce and fir construction lumber (2x4s, 2x6s, etc.). Since it was acquired in 2004, many upgrades have been made, making it one of the most high-tech mills in the country. They feature an all-electric, partially-automated slashing saw, automated log analysis, automated high speed camera lumber grading, and automated sorting. Much of the waste is burned to run their boiler systems or sold to make wood pellets and other products.

“It’s great to work with companies you can be confident will be around for a long time.” Reports community forest manager Kyle Burdick. “Disruptions in forest product markets create all kinds of headaches. Stability keeps things on the community forest running smoothly. Sustainable timber harvesting creates wildlife habitat, healthy forests, jobs, and keeps our roads in good shape.”

Much of the lumber Pleasant River produces is sold to small scale lumber distributors like your local building supplier. You can find Pleasant River products by looking for their logos in lumber yards, or their trademarked American flag stamp on each piece of lumber. Additionally, nearly all of the logs the mill consumes come from Maine. Which begs the question, where does your lumber come from?