Hurwitz, Pacific Lumber is cutting Headwaters

PHADRUIG phadruig at
Thu Feb 26 19:32:33 EST 1998

In article <newkirk-1902981407340001 at>, newkirk at (Kirk
Johnson) writes:

>Make no mistake, Headwaters is being liquidated by a greed-head s.o.b.
>named Charles Hurwitz. 
Has anyone ever stopped to think about the motivation for such liquidation of 
private timber resources?   Of course, many will answer:  "Greed!"   And since
some people find this synonymous with capitalism itself, it seems useless to
try to convince them otherwise. 

But consider then, why some of the "greedy" choose to manage their timberlands
for continuous production while others choose to cut all merchantable timber
off and then sell the lands.  I suppose to that, many would answer: 

Beginning around the turn of the century a number of enterprising western
lumbermen acquired relatively large areas of timberland holdings.  They then
set out to apply forest management principles to these properties so that they
would produce a steady and relatively even supply of logs to their sawmills,
greatly reducing their dependence on outside sources.  

Their managment plans not only specified a regulated cut, but replanting &
thinnning, and sometimes even pruning, and fertilization.  They even
established nurseries in which to grow their own seedlings for replanting and
research facilities to investigate and prove other possibilities.  All this
indicating, it seems, a high degree of seriousness in the longevity of the

In the last decade, or so, we have seen an abrupt shift away from this
intensive forest management and a trend towards liquidation of the resource. 
This is noted not only of large industrial forests but even small
non-industrial private holdings.  The trend seems to have shifted back to the
old "cut and get out" tactics of an earlier day.  The incentive to hold
timberland for long term management and progressive income seems to have
regressed - at least in the west.

Assuming that most landowners/managers are not fools, but characteristically
"know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em", in other words, are rational
entrepreneurs (even Hurwitz), what factors caused, and are causing, them to
"cash in their chips" and get out of the game?   What affect does this have on
our national well being?  Has environmentalism played a roll in this? 
Seumas Mac Phadruig
Industrial Forest Opns. Mgr. (Ret.)
Inland Northwest, USA

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