In the not so recent past Montana’s private logging contractors and saw-mill owners operated predominantly on privately-owned lands. The old growth was “high-graded” (stripped off), and much of that land was sold off to the federal government and real estate corporations (REITs). In other words, after the easy-to-access, high-value old growth on private land was liquidated, the timber industry has been going through a structural transition (merger, acquisition, liquidation) for decades. This is the trend. Mills have closed, workforce numbers declined, and the “timber economy” in Montana and other Northern Rockies states has trended downward, with no end in sight.
A significant portion of all wood-fiber production has relocated to the Southeastern states for a variety of quite logical, ecological and economic reasons.
I was listening to a talk by Andrew Klavan, the crime and suspense writer, given at Hillsdale College. I liked the entire talk, as I think I have come half-circle. Twenty-nine years ago I dropped my then twenty-years-running subscription to National Review, the magazine founded by Bill Buckley. I just renewed it. I hope this time around I am a better thinker. There is much I like about conservatism, and much I find to be less well reasoned. (Their attitude about the supposed “free market” and health care along with opposition to “socialized” medicine has led us to a dystopia called Obamacare, making us prisoners of AHIP, though they are not aware of this.)