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Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 5 posts ] 
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 Author: crow
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 2:54 pm 
Under the leadership of Dana Bates, general manager, 6 employees thin and restore areas of the Gila National Forest overgrown with small diameter trees and brush, due to lack of natural fire and/or over logging of the big trees. According to Bates this process creates a more natural spacing of trees, allowing them to grow bigger and encourages a new growth of plants on the forest floor as "we try to get it back to a pre white man condition". Work is also done on areas of severe burns to prevent run-off of ash and silt into the rivers and streams. The Forest work is funded by Department of Agriculture CFRP (Collaborative Forest Restoration Program) and other grants promoting a new relationship with the Forest wild lands.

The caveat of this restoration work and the small diameter tress brought down from the forest is a "green" business and local jobs with a line of products for local building and natural landscaping. Incorporated as a nonprofit in the late 1990's, Gila WoodNet has been in business since 2003 supplying wood chips, vigas, firewood, composted mulch and compost all from these Forest improvement projects.

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Because of the explosion of gardens in the area the demand for their composted mulch is at an all time high. As an avid gardener and composter myself I had to smell and touch it .... very nice. They add a mixture of Mycelium and Bacteria to their wood chip pile, turn often, and when at a certain maturity, sift it to remove any un-composted chips leaving a very uniform texture of aerobic compost.

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As I move around the community photographing gardens for gilacommunity.net I see their wood chips covering many garden paths improving soil and preserving soil moisture.

The Porch posts, created by Amanda are truly beautiful works of art.

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With their small saw mill they will custom cut boards, posts and beams.

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For those seeking what they offer you'll find them there between 8 am to 4 pm Wednesday through Saturday in the Santa Clara Industrial Park (!?). So turn into the Armory there on 180 near the Santa Clara turn off, then turn right and up the dirt road with the small signs announcing that you found them.

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 Author: Jean Eisenhower
PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 11:00 am 
Is Gila Wood Net closed now? If so, is there another "best" firewood option I should know about (besides getting my own wood permit)? Thanks, All.


 Author: gorwest
PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2016 6:13 am 
You can still get firewood at Gila WoodNet/Gila Wood Products. Call Gabe Jimenez, who now owns Gila Wood Products; 575-404-3909.

There is currently a limited supply, as the Gila National Forest and Region 3 ceased to support our forest thinning efforts back in the spring of 2014. A CFRP grant that the old Gila Wood Products had to continue thinning (as had been done since 2001) was inexplicably locked up through bureaucratic meddling. After six months of Dana and I trying to smooth things out, the bank account ran dry and the employees had to find other jobs, and Dana more or less retired. A major problem was that the FS became completely unresponsive to helping to fix the problems that it had imposed on the project. I sort of kept things going on a part-time volunteer basis from summer of 2014 until fall of 2015.

When the Forest Supervisor changed again last year (the 5th time since I have been working with the GNF) we thought we might be able to open communications and resolve the problems and get to work again. We asked for a one year extension (the grant was scheduled to terminate on 9/16/2015), and thought it was a no brainer, but we were informed in August that there would be no extension due to a history of "poor collaboration". So $195,000 in grant money to do thinning on the GNF, and to expand the mulch and compost operations at Gila Wood Products, went back to the Federal Treasury (the Forest Service didn't even get to keep it). I am still baffled by that action and have a meeting with Adam Mendonca scheduled for next week to discuss what went wrong and how the GNF might begin to work collaboratively with the forest restoration folks again, like was common up until about 2006.

The old Gila Wood Products LLC went out of business, but Gabe Jimenez, one of the early GWN crew for 8 years, came back last fall and wanted to try to make a go of things, and he has started a new Gila Wood Products LLC (different legal entity from the defunct GWP). He is operating part time, using up the remaining log inventory and working to acquire new material from private thinning projects. The focus is continuing to shift more towards mulch and compost - a portable grinder has been leased, and a truck is being transformed into a chip hauler.

We have collaborated with the Office of Sustainability and the GC Food Policy Council in writing a planning grant to the FMI Community Investment Fund. The idea is to set up a comprehensive county-wide food waste and woody biomass composting system, which would incorporate support for composting throughout the range from home composting to commercial scale composting at GWN. This would, among many other benefits, create another value-adding opportunity for GWP, which is one way of leveraging a small supply of forest biomass into a viable business. We are also working to add biochar production to the product array - biochar and composting are natural partners, resulting in soil amendments that can dramatically improve local food production while reducing water use and sequestering carbon in the soil.

Perhaps, if I can cultivate the Gila National Forest as a collaborator again, Gabe and GWP can eventually get funded for forest thinning again, but that is a many years long process. I confess, I am very tired of struggling along with a constantly changing cast and crew at the Forest Service, after 30 years of doing it.

On that note, maybe it is time to cast the net for new blood for Gila WoodNet... anybody out there have an interest in joining an organization that has survived for 18 years now and done a lot of great things for the economy and the environment? And still has a huge amount of potential? Unlike most non-profits, Gila WoodNet is unique in that it straddles the gap between the business and nonprofit worlds.

I'd like to hear from folks.

Gordon West

 Author: Jean Eisenhower
PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2016 10:53 am 
Thank you, Gordon, for the history - much appreciated!
Maybe when I settle into my new teaching gig at the university again, I can consider some involvement.
It's a perfect example of local business using local resources, filling local needs.


 Author: Jean Eisenhower
PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2016 12:26 pm 
Just talked to Gabe (575-404-3909) and thought I'd share what he had to say with others who might need wood: He has ponderosa pine, which burns clean (different than other pines), and hotter than juniper - but faster. It's sold for $150/cord, $75/half, and $37.50/quarter. And he'll deliver a cord or more for an additional $50 delivery fee.


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