Facility Profile - March 2008
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Weathering the Storm

Dunes Bible Camp in Ocean Park, Wash.

By Jeff Mullins

Jess Wooliscroft, caretaker at the Loomis Lake site, brings more than 25 years of timber industry experience to the Dunes' new sawmilling venture. "With the sawmill, we can proactively manage the park-like campground knowing we are optimizing use of the trees," he said. "It is gratifying to take a tree, make lumber and realize tangible camp facility improvements."

"Every time I put a log on the mill and begin to saw, I am amazed at how easy it is to run and the quality of the boards produced," Holmes added. "Hydraulic lifting and turning arms position logs from the control panel making it easy for me to produce lumber even though I have had back problems in the past. I was also impressed by how easy it is for even relatively inexperienced people to learn to use the mill safely."

Holmes anticipates that the savings realized by the camp will be significant as new construction and remodeling projects are completed. "I recently had to buy some trim boards for a door and paid over $100," he said. "Now we can produce our own lumber from our own logs at a fraction the cost."

Beyond satisfaction gained from saving money and producing lumber from these trees, Holmes said the mill is providing positive environmental contributions. "By making lumber from trees that would otherwise be wasted, the need for materials is met without harvesting healthy forests," he explained. Trees that are left standing continue to scrub carbon from the atmosphere, and carbon that would have been released through burning or decay is sequestered (locked) in a durable wood product. The positive contribution is even greater since the thin blades produce more lumber and less sawdust from each log milled.

Portable sawmilling is opening other potential opportunities for the campground. Local residents have inquired about donating logs to the camp for conversion into lumber for camp projects or to be sold to generate revenue for the camp operations. Holmes also anticipates a demand for custom sawing as word about the mill gets around.

"Our mission is to provide a unique setting where people can relax and reflect spiritually," Holmes said. "The mill has become an important tool to this end. We have trees that must be removed, so we are trying to be wise stewards of both the natural resources and of the finances available. Making lumber is the best use of these downed trees. It is saving us money and allowing construction of upgraded facilities sooner. The added bonus is that we are also making a positive contribution to the environment in the process."

Holmes said the camp recently purchased a planer/moulder to get more value from the lumber being sawn by producing wood products such as flooring, siding and trim. That's because, he noted, in addition to new construction projects, the camp has an ongoing need for lumber for repairs and remodels.

By improving facilities at the Loomis Lake site, more of the campground will be usable by more campers for more months each year. That means the campground's sawmill really is the silver lining in the dark clouds that left behind so many downed trees.


Dunes Bible Camp: www.dunesbiblecamp.com

Wood-Mizer Sawmills: www.woodmizer.com