Ampine Receives US Forest Service Innovation Grant

Many companies say they care about the environment, but at Timber Products Company, sustainable forestry is more than just something we talk about on our website. We’re constantly working on new ways to preserve and protect our nation’s forests, and the US Forest Service recently showed their support with grant funding.


About the Wood Innovation Grant

The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) invests in projects designed to manage wildfire risk, make forests more resilient and/or support rural communities. Earlier this year, Timber Products Company’s Ampine division applied for, and received, funding to lease equipment that will help turn hazardous fuel logs into particle board fiber.

Rob Crummett, Fiber Manager for Timber Products, and Terry Velasco, Ampine Plant General Manager, were the driving force behind the grant application. Crummett came from the biomass industry and wrote two USFS grant proposals for his previous employer. “Our proposal was kind of an outlier. I didn’t think we’d be that competitive,” said Crummett.

“This year’s grant was focused on funding big wooden buildings, what they call mass timber,” Crummet explained. “But Terry Velasco really championed our initiative. He invited the Forest Service to Ampine, gave them a tour, showed them all the things we do, I think made a big impact.”

According to USFS estimates, there are more than 11 million dead trees in the Eldorado and Stanislaus National Forests, mainly caused by drought and bark beetle activity. Hazardous tree removal in these forests is a priority for the agency, and Ampine is strategically located between both areas. The U.S. Forest Service grant enables Ampine to lease and operate a grinder to convert hazardous logs into wood fiber for particle board.

USFS Grant is a “Win-Win” for the Environment and Local Economy

Ampine is the last composite board plant remaining in California. As sawmills and wood manufacturing plants closed, Ampine’s wood fiber supply dwindled.

To offset this shortage, Ampine would purchase dead trees from private and public timberlands, but only when independent contractors were available to grind the logs. The USFS grant allows Ampine to handle its own grinding, thereby increasing capacity.

  • Ampine believes it will remove an estimated 17,500 tons of logs from 1,029 high-risk acres each year.
  • The three-year project will also help the community retain 156 jobs and create new full-time jobs.
  • Converting the hazardous trees into particle board will reduce CO2 emissions by 47,727 net tons (versus removal by burning).

“Terry Velasco is in the process of identifying a grinder,” said Crummett. “The grant provides funding for a three-year lease. When that’s up, we might purchase the grinder outright, or sign another lease.”

The grinder funded by the Wood Innovation Grant is just one of Timber Products’ ongoing sustainability initiatives to ensure abundant and healthy forests remain for future generations. “I’ve only been here a year, but I’ve found Timber Products to be very supportive and open to new ideas that spearhead environmental change,” said Crummet.

Before you start your next building project, consider choosing a company committed to both quality and sustainability. Learn more about Timber Products’ environmental certifications, extensive capabilities, and superior quality on our website. Or, connect with a wood products expert.

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