Timber company replants clearcut

"Keeping a promise he made before cutting down almost 40 acres of forest land sandwiched between Saratoga and Fox Spit roads, Bellingham timber company owner Gordon Iverson began replanting the land with Douglas fir seedlings.A crew of about a dozen tree planters hired by Burlington reforestation contractor Pacific Forest Technicians began planting about 15,000 fir trees early Monday morning. Wearing metal spiked boots and carrying spades and 40-pound sacks filled with 1-foot-tall seedlings, the planters worked fast on steep slopes overlooking Saratoga Passage to plant trees at a rate of about 1,200 per hour.Jim Murphy, owner of Pacific Forest Technicians, said the entire acreage would be replanted by Tuesday afternoon. He said the trees will be 3 to 4 feet high within three years, which will shade out brush growth and will make perfect conditions for tree growth. It will take 20 to 25 years for the trees to reach a size at which they are considered marketable as timber, Murphy said.Gordon Iverson, owner of Bellingham's C&G Timber, said last week that he wants the forest to have a density of about 100 to 120 trees per acre. Just two days after a heavy frost had solidified the ground on South Whidbey, Monday's wet and warmer weather was exactly what Iverson had been hoping for.This is perfect for putting trees in the ground, he said.Iverson said he plans to allow the forest to grow to maturity, at which point he expects to harvest it again. "

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