Breaking down old practices: Forest Service, Confluence Energy open new chapter in timber management |

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Breaking down old practices: Forest Service, Confluence Energy open new chapter in timber management

Ty Shearer

Terms in timber


Material left behind by logging companies after a timber sale has been completed. Normally includes the limbs’ tops and remains of lodgepole pines that have been cut down. The material normally has been pushed into huge piles.

Slash piles

Near the landing area of a logging operation. This material is mostly just tree parts, but also may contain rocks, metal parts and other items that the lumber company left behind.

Landing area

A small area of a logging operation where trees are processed and then loaded onto trucks to be shipped to sawmills.


A facility that processes raw timber into lumber for shipping and sales.


Raw timber is placed into a machine that reduces it to chips that can be trucked to processing plants. The plants then turn the material into pellets that can be used in wood-burning stoves, or into adsorbent material that is used for oil, gas and solvent spills in the oil industry.


Any matter, surface or construct that interacts with biological systems. In this case, it’s the material remaining in the field after logging contractors have cut down trees. This material can be processed and turned into any number of products including, but not limited to, wood pellets, waste-absorbing material and kitty litter.

Pellet mill

The place where processed sawdust is turned into wood pellets used in wood stoves.

Hammer mill

A mill that refined woodchips into a fine material used to produce wood pellets, and adsorption materials and other products that can be formed from biomaterial.


Trees that have died as a result of Colorado’s beetle infestation.

Dimensional lumber

Timber that is cut to a certain size at lumber mills.

Sawmill residue

The material that is left over after a lumber mill cuts timber into dimensional lumber. This material often is chipped, loaded into box trucks and taken to wood processing plants like the ones found in Kremmling and Walden.


The wood chips that are piled up outside plants like the ones in Kremmling and Walden. This material forms mountains around the plant and is used to produce the products that end up being sold to companies and customers.


A biodegradable material produced by Confluence Energy that is used in and around oil fields to absorb spills. The material contains micro-organisms that neutralize the hazardous material, so it doesn’t have to be collected and removed once the drilling operation ends.

Riding in the passenger seat of a company pickup on a dirt Forest Service road just shy of the Blacktail Creek Campground in Grand County, Confluence Energy's Don Sanford surveys the landscape that surrounds the remains of a 2,200-acre timber sale.

Out there, where stands of aspen trees still fill the horizon, where wildflowers in full bloom cover the ground and where the mountain vistas are rarely seen by human eyes, Sanford sees opportunity.