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Owens meets with forest owners about market issues

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WINTHROP - Rep. William L. Owens stood alongside Bill LaPoint in the middle of a forest Thursday afternoon.

Mr. LaPoint has owned hundreds of acres of Stockholm forest since 1984, and has used portions of it for firewood and recreation. He even donates Christmas trees to the Boy Scouts from his land each year.

But he and other forest owners met with Mr. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, because of a common problem: There is more supply than demand in area forests.

“We’ve got the product but we don’t have the market,” Mr. LaPoint said. “We need to have him help us get the market.

“We’ve got the product, ours is renewable,” he said. “Let’s utilize it.”

Mr. LaPoint said identifying more markets for his wood could lead to more harvesting, trucking and even manufacturing jobs in the north country. If he doesn’t harvest enough of his forest, it will become overgrown, making it more difficult for the vegetation to grow.

An overgrown forest is also a more likely spot for a fire, which he said ravaged his property decades ago.

He pointed out many manufacturers use wood out of Canada for their product.

“If that’s being shipped out of Canada, why can’t it be shipped out of this side of the border?” he asked.

Mr. Owens said there should be a push for more projects like the renewable energy plant under construction at Fort Drum, and the Tupper Lake Wild Center’s renewable energy system, which could increase demand for local timber.

“These are the things we’ve got to push,” he said.

Mr. Owens said he would also lobby for more advocacy of foresting issues in Washington.

“There has to be a little more noise or support for renewable energy ideas,” he said. “You need to have people in Washington talking about it.”

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