As Tongass trees get locked up by Biden, will lumber prices to go even higher?


The Tongass exception to the national forest Roadless Rule will be reversed by the Biden Administration, meaning that virtually no commercially viable logging can take place in Southeast Alaska on federal land.

During a time when lumber in the United States is setting record prices, there won’t be enough logs to support a mill in Southeast. What logs that will be cut will have to be shipped to China whole, and marketed to the world, rather than America.

The Tongass National Forest has a sustained yield of about 450-500 million board feet, and coincidentally about that much dies every year in the forest, which is three times the size of the state of New Hampshire.

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy called the decision by the Biden Administration to repeal the Trump Administration’s lifting of the roadless rule a bad idea.

“I am yet again disappointed in the Biden Administration’s latest suppression of Alaska’s economic opportunity,” said Dunleavy.

Alaska’s petition for rulemaking led to the 2020 Tongass Exemption Rule by the US Department of Agriculture, but with the new Administration and Biden’s promise to radical environmentalists, little activity resulted since the exemption went into effect in October.

Meanwhile, lumber and plywood prices are at an all-time high, and across the nation the prices for building new homes are also going through the roof. It’s a matter of supply and demand, with new housing being the largest usage for wood products, followed by home repair and remodels of existing housing.

An additional choke point on timber prices is the Covid impact on lumber mills, which came to a standstill for much of last year, as U.S. pandemic policy caused a ripple effect throughout many industries. While production at pharmaceutical companies kept pace, lumber mills shut down, truckers are in high demand, while workers have generally been paid premiums by the government to not work at all.


  1. Couple this with Blackrock Asset Management, funded by the Federal Reserve, buying up single family housing, including whole neighborhoods in many places, and the last bastion of wealth building for the working class becomes out of reach. Of course, twenty years ago Al Gore preached that the greenies’ goal was elimination of private homes and private vehicle ownership, so this all just falls into their plan (per April 4 WSJ article).

  2. …But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security…

  3. What don’t these people understand.

    You live in a house right, it’s built out of wood
    You fly in your planes, paddle your kayaks all with the help of oil.
    Get a life, Biden and all other global warming freaks

  4. Print money (tons of it) with nothing to back it and inflation is going to happen. Econ 101.

  5. Very little wood from the Tongass goes in to the domestic market. Do some research before you spout off.

  6. Dan,

    Respectfully, very little wood comes out of the Tongass. Again respectfully, do some research before spouting off yourself.

  7. Dan,
    Since the logs from Alaska are not available to foreign industries, they look to other North American sources for lumber. This in turn increases the demand on the market that is the usual source for lumber.
    So you are correct that most timber goes overseas but you are incorrect that it does not have an overall impact on the 300% increase in lumber over that last 18 months.
    This rise in lumber/home prices will only further separate the haves and have nots creating even more division in our country. It looks like Biden has been very successful in his agenda.

  8. I wonder what the new State Forester has to say about this. He hails from California, so I’m guessing we won’t be hearing from him any time soon.

  9. So, home ownership is out of reach of the younger generation. Rents increase. Homeless numbers increase. The numbers of middle income Americans decreases. The number of lower income Americans increases. Perfect–for a communist petri dish. Just what Obama and his minions want. America, Wake Up!

  10. Nygaard makes an important point. The USFS, founded by Gifford Pinchot who also founded the Society of American Foresters, has abandoned professional forest management. (I read Pinchot’s autobiography, Breaking New Ground, about once a decade and recommend it to everyone.) Without harvests there is no forest management, and with the allowable annual Tongass harvest volume dying to rot each year there is no forest management using any definition. That may beg the question, what do all these USFS personnel now do and why do taxpayers need them? This is a great and timely news report from MRAK; not covered by any other media so far as I know.

  11. Kayak, OMG! And what happens when all those dead trees rot? They turn back to CO2! Someone tell feeble Joe that he is killing the Earth by closing Tongass, where all those tons of rotting trees could be sequestered into long term storage in homes for people. This decision is as stupid for the ‘global warming groupies’ as stopping Keystone to ship oil on Warren Buffet’s trains. But of course it is all about visuals and nothing about real results.

  12. I live in Washington. You guys can’t compete. We have deep-water ports built to take on big trade, sawmills, and millions of acres in advanced production of the more competitive Douglas Fir. You can get all the logs you need from private forestry.

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