Letter: "Blue-pine" housing in Eagle County? | VailDaily.com

Letter: "Blue-pine" housing in Eagle County?

Randy Piper, Granby

I was contacted by a Vail area customer recently whom was dismayed to learn that the beetle-killed trees that Vail is cutting down this year, to create defensible space, are going to be burned this fall. He strongly encouraged me to write and put forth some ideas that we had discussed previously.

When I searched your paper’s site online, I found 1,371 stories on affordable housing issues. Some of the very people mentioned as having problems in finding affordable/attainable housing appear to be the very firefighters who will be cutting and burning these trees!

Wouldn’t it make more sense to provide these trees to a small local sawmill that can efficiently cut D-Logs so they can be stacked to build homes at low labor and construction costs in general? There are some opportunities to make lemonade out of the lemons we have received from this beetle epidemic. You eliminate the high costs of framing, siding, insulation and drywall ” all relatively high cost and skilled trades. The firefighters themselves, in a Habitat for Humanity-style, could stack these logs, drop a SIP (structural insulated panel) roof down for expediency and R-value, and have homes built more affordably than almost any other method right?

It was only 75-plus years ago when our communities helped their neighbors build homes and barns, and they knew their neighbors would be there to help them build when they were needed. Wouldn’t this be a potentially viable way to help address the affordable housing concerns?

Think of the positive impact in our communities and on our service sectors, not to mention the positive media attention that our mountain communities could get by being a role model in finding solutions and opportunities to build and strengthen our communities in the face of these problems!

Burning these trees creates other problems ” as reported in your own articles ” by increasing carbon loads in the face of a massive loss of carbon removal, for dying vegetation does not remove carbon. And lots of smoke is probably not going to help the tourist industry much either.

Can the true and total cost of shipping logs to a mill for building products really be that much greater than the cost to supervise burning and in the cost to our environment and tourism industries?

There is no benefit to burning but there certainly are benefits to using these trees for building purposes of any kind.

My organization would be happy to help explore the options with the Vail area residents, builders, and housing committees. I encourage anyone interested to contact me at recycledtimber@msn.com to discuss the utilization of our local timber. We have almost 300 different “blue pine” wood products that we are manufacturing from our local trees and would love to help in being a part of the Vail Valley’s housing and beetle-kill tree solutions.

Sincerely and with faith in our American Ingenuity,

Randy Piper Granby

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