Forest Journal: Family lumber firm is a good steward of NH's forest land
As Dad tells the tale, after looking closely at the business' books he concluded that he was not in a position to make it work. And thus ended multiple generations of family ownership and management. I don't think Dad regrets that decision - though nostalgia sent us both back just a few years ago to retrieve a chest of drawers that was built at the family lumber yard before my time.
I recently had the privilege of touring the sawmill at Lavalley's Middleton Building Supply. Lavalley's was started 75 years ago by the DiPrizio family, which created an opportunity out of the millions of board feet of pine blown down during the Hurricane of '38 and built it into a business. Lavalley's acquired it in 1993, and today it's an impressive operation, from the computer software that helps the sawyer minimize waste and maximize value as he converts round sawlogs into dimensional lumber to the use of sawdust to generate electricity for the operation and heat for the drying kiln.
Managing those lands with long-range vision not only helped but increased the Wilkins' timber value. However, whenever the business and its associated lands changed hands from one generation to the next, they found themselves needing to sell off some of the land (a vexing problem for lands in developed areas, which, for estate tax purposes, are assessed at their development value rather than their timberland or open-space value).
"Forest Journal" appears every other week in the New Hampshire Sunday News. Jack Savage is editor of Forest Notes: New Hampshire's Conservation Magazine, published by the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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