John Glenn, owner of Stikine River Forest Products, announced Monday evening his plans to build a mill in Petersburg.
“I have contacted several property owners and we are in the process of sending offers or accepting offers of sale,” Glenn said during his announcement to the borough assembly on Monday.
Glenn said he has located a piece of property near the airport that exists within industrial zoning and has power and water connections.
He said the construction of the mill would be done in two phases. Phase one would consist of a full breakdown large mill capable of manufacturing 100,000 board feet per shift.
The second phase would consist of a small log processing line that can handle logs within 4 to 16 inch diameters—young growth—which aligns with local forest service management strategies.
US District Forest Ranger Jason Anderson said commercial thinning and clear cutting of young growth will likely play a role in the future of Alaska’s timber industry as more and more of those acres are going to become commercially viable.
Cindy Lagoudakis, assembly member, asked what it would take to sustain a mill on Mitkof Island.
“What kind of volume do you need to have, in a harvesting a year, to be able to maintain your mill…?”
Glenn said his mill would produce about 20 million board feet per year.
Anderson said there will be some old growth clear cuts available for sale on Mitkof Island in the near future.
“It (Mitkof Island) would be a place for him to bid on those sales but not provide the stability for the mill he’s talking about,” Anderson said. “He’s going to have to look at places off of Mitkof Island.”
Glenn said the mill would employ 35-50 employees and would operate 10-11 months out of the year.
He hopes to begin construction this spring and anticipates build time to be around 18-24 months.
“I am pleased to have the opportunity to help bring economic diversification back to Petersburg and help revitalize the timber industry here,” Glenn said.
Anderson echoes his sentiments.
“He’s the first investor who has shown up in the wood products industry here in a long time,” Anderson said. “It will be a breath of fresh air.”