Hurwitz, Pacific Lumber is cutting Headwaters

CamillaH camillah at
Wed Mar 4 16:41:43 EST 1998

On 2/26/98, phadruig at wrote:

>In article <newkirk-1902981407340001 at>, newkirk at
>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
>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
>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
>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
>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
>our national well being?  Has environmentalism played a roll in this? 
>Seumas Mac Phadruig
>Industrial Forest Opns. Mgr. (Ret.)
>Inland Northwest, USA

The Murphy family practiced the forest management practices you cite.  It was
from this foresight that Pacific Lumber became vulnerable to corporate raiders
in the 80's.  

I would never say most landowners are fools.  (I'm one myself. :D)  Nor
managers either.  But I believe those managing the forests this century who did
it with the same wisdom as the Murphys are the exception rather than the rule. 
I would take heart if the majority of managers of the forests exercised such
wisdom today.

If I were a *large* landowner/business today, I'd be far more scared of the
politics of robber barons than of us environmentalists.  Me, all I have is a
voice.  Charles Hurwitz has to have much more to be in the position he is
today.  Maybe Hurwitz has his own pair of presidential kneepads, but I've got
the feeling Hurwitz isn't the one prostituting himself.  

It's my belief that when you act based upon fear, you're much more likely to be
making lots of mistakes.    Why can't foresters and environmentalists work
together to find solutions?  Earth First says "No Compromise in Defending
Mother Earth."  It is my perception that the logging and wood industry is every
bit as uncompromising in the opposite direction of that quote.  None of us are
going to get it all our way.  

When Maxxam acquired PL, Charles Hurwitz had already planned to log at the
maximum rate possible.  No environmentalists involved.  Take a real look at the
man you're defending.  (  I pray that there are few
or no other forest owners that are like him.  I find it criminal that someone
can buy a company and in essence steal the workers' pension funds.  Twice!!  I
don't care if it's legal; there is no way to justify such actions! 
Environmentalists for Headwaters only want 60,000 acres.  Charles Hurwitz took
over 200,000 acres from the Murphys. 

Thanks for listening,


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