Conservationist Plans Big Sawmill In San Luis Valley

A billionaire conservationist is planning to build a large sawmill in the San Luis Valley to help keep forests healthy.

The Denver Post reports that Louis Bacon's 172,000-acre Trinchera Blanca Ranch harvests about 2.5 million board feet of timber every year. It's Colorado's largest adjoining ranch.

“Large portions of Colorado’s forests are hurting due to prolonged drought, bug infestations and poor historic forest management practices – the same issues we are facing on the ranch,” said Ty Ryland, the manager of the Trinchera Blanca Ranch, in a statement. “The forest-health issues on the Ranch, along with those of the region, are pushing us to act and the best solution is to sustainably manage our forests and build this sawmill to handle the volume.”

The proposed sawmill would be constructed near the town of Blanca in Costilla County and would process 20 million board-feet of timber each year. It could employ up to 70 workers.

The manager of the ranch, Ty Ryland, said in a statement that the sawmill will help manage Colorado's forests in a sustainable way.

Ranch managers say the county has granted permits for the project's location and timber removal. The sawmill could be in full operation by 2017.