Crews work to remove asphalt and excavate utility trenches at the Sierra Institute’s new Wood Products Campus in Crescent Mills. Photo submitted

Old timber mill getting new life as wood products campus

After almost 30 years, new life is coming to the old timber mill site in Crescent Mills.

The Sierra Institute for Community and Environment (Sierra Institute) is redeveloping the site in order to create a wood products campus to address “declining forest health, increasing risk of catastrophic wildfire, and poor socioeconomic conditions within a community which historically had a strong timber industry presence,” said Sierra Institute’s landscape stewardship apprentice Danielle Berry.

Since last reporting, the Sierra Institute has continued to navigate pre re-development issues involving cleanup at the site.

After numerous site assessments, as well as consultation with the Environmental Protection Agency and other specialists, the Sierra Institute has been able to develop a strategic plan that ensures the site is successfully remediated prior to the development of the wood products campus, according to Berry.

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Once completed, the Indian Valley Wood Products Campus will consist of a variety of businesses that generate value-added products out of small-diameter trees and other woody biomass.

Through the development of this site, the Sierra Institute seeks to provide direct benefits to the communities and forests of Plumas County by generating a market for small diameter trees and forest restoration byproducts; ultimately creating a source for local jobs and income while simultaneously facilitating the increased pace and scale of forest restoration activities.

The Brownfield Assessment and Cleanup Grants provided by the EPA made the clean up possible.

Initial construction at the site began Sept. 9 and is expected to be completed by Oct. 15.

For more information on site activities and future development of the Wood Products Campus, visit Sierra Institute’s webpage, sierrainstitute.us/program/ivwpc or call the office at 284-1022.