AP NEWS

Weyerhaeuser to sell 1,000 square miles of Montana timber

December 18, 2019 GMT

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — The Washington-based timber giant Weyerhaeuser has agreed to sell its nearly 1,000 square miles (2,600 square kilometers) of timberland in Montana to a private investment company for $145 million in cash.

The Flathead Beacon in Kalispell reports it’s not yet clear how the transaction will affect land access in northwest Montana, mostly in the Salish Range from Kalispell to Libby. The sale is expected to be completed sometime next year.

Tom Ray, the Montana resource team leader for Weyerhaeuser, said he couldn’t comment on Tuesday’s announcement.

A company press release did not disclose the name of the buyer or whether the buyer intends to manage the parcels for timber production or sell them off for private development.

Devin Stockfish, president and chief executive officer of Weyerhaeuser, said in the statement that the sale is part of an effort “to strategically optimize our timberland portfolio” and that the land includes a mix of softwood species and a 170-square-mile (440-square-kilometer) conservation easement.

Company officials say its three manufacturing facilities in the Flathead Valley will not be affected by the announcement.

Weyerhaeuser merged with Plum Creek Timber Co. in 2016, forming the largest private owner of timberland in the U.S., with more than 20,000 square miles (51,800 square kilometers). Weyerhaeuser bought Plum Creek for $8.4 billion.