With his own small sawmill, Cody Wayland is able to custom cut wood for projects.
This week, Jefferson Land Trust began a selective timber harvest at Valley View Forest, a Land Trust-protected working forest in Chimacum. Valley View Forest is a pilot of community forestry: that is, a forest that’s managed for the “triple bottom line” of providing economic, ecological, and community benefits as identified by the local community.
Valley View is the 65-acre gateway to what will eventually become the 918-acre Chimacum Ridge Community Forest when the Land Trust is able to purchase the Ridge in 2023. Selectively thinning trees in Valley View Forest will help create conditions for healthier plant and wildlife habitat, while also providing revenue that can be used to support other aspects of this forest, like habitat improvement projects and educational programs.
Wayland Constructive at work on a project.
Many of the harvested trees, carefully selected and marked for logging with the help of Land Trust volunteers, will hopefully never leave Jefferson County, thanks to local miller Cody Wayland of Wayland Constructive, who is taking orders now for locally sourced lumber.
“Buying wood from a forest managed with the mission and foresight of a nonprofit like Jefferson Land Trust makes sense,” Cody says. “It’s on a much smaller scale and, without the clear-cutting, excessive and repetitive long-distance trucking, and use of plastic wrap, has less of an impact and a much smaller carbon footprint.”
Wayland Constructive has been a “Save the Land” partner of the Land Trust since 2020, generously donating a portion of its yearly profits to Jefferson Land Trust. When Cody Wayland learned about the Chimacum Ridge project a few years ago, he saw the possibility for locally sourced, custom-cut and kiln-dried lumber packages for the local community. With this harvest, he expects to process Western redcedar, red alder, and Douglas fir.
It’s the cedar wood, one of the world’s most prized woods for its beauty and durability, that Cody’s most excited to bring to customers. For home projects like patio furniture and picnic tables, exposed beams or rafters, ceilings, decks, fences, and exterior board and batten siding for your home, he says, you won’t find a better product than Western redcedar.
Fragrant and beautiful, cedar is known for its distinctive reddish color, but those are not the only qualities that make it so sought-after: it’s also naturally weatherproof, and resistant to high and low temperatures, moisture, and rot. These properties mean that cedar lasts comparatively longer than other woods, so though the purchase price may initially be higher, building with cedar often saves homeowners money in the long run.
Western redcedar is prized for its beauty and durability.
Beyond the product itself, purchasing locally grown and locally milled wood rewards the consumer with something a little extra, something that’s less tangible but no less powerful: a true sense of connection. Cody likens it to shopping at a farmer’s market:
“Walking into the farmer’s market and talking to the farmer who grew the food, you get that direct relationship with the product,” he says. “Buying local and direct in that way you not only get something that’s probably better quality than what comes off the Sysco truck, you get something more powerful — depth, intrigue, a story. And I think people have a desire for that kind of local, personal connection with the wood they buy. But that wood is hard to find. It’s not usually a readily available option. So that’s what I’m trying to provide for people.”
The trees harvested from Valley View and milled by hand at Wayland Constructive are a transparent lumber product that allows people to understand the full story of what they’re supporting with their patronage. “You could stand on your deck and you can understand that you bought this wood from Jefferson Land Trust and Wayland Constructive right here in Port Townsend,” Cody says. “And you can also go and walk in the Valley View Forest where that wood came from.”
But it’s more than a feeling. The environmental advantages of buying locally harvested and locally milled wood are numerous. For one thing, you’re choosing to support a community forest with your purchase.
Another environmental advantage of buying local logs is a drastic reduction of waste and carbon emissions. The average tree will make many fossil-fueled journeys after being felled: it will be transported by truck from the forest to the mill, the mill to the kiln, from the kiln to another kiln, then go back on a truck to be brought to a warehouse or perhaps even shipped to China, one of the major purchasers of Northwestern lumber. These planks will then need at least one more journey by truck to get to their final destination, perhaps several, and could even be re-sold and put on yet another ship.
This local barn was recently re-sided by Wayland Constructive using Douglas fir.
Along the way, that lumber will almost certainly be shrink-wrapped, sometimes more than once or even individually, plank by plank, creating untold amounts of plastic trash and putting further strain on a world already suffering the effects of climate change.
“In terms of our carbon footprint and global warming, purchasing this wood will definitely start to diminish some of that waste,” Cody explains. “If you purchase Western redcedar from Valley View Forest, it will never be shrink-wrapped and it will only need to be transported twice, and not very far. It’ll come straight from Valley View to my shop, where it’ll get milled and kiln-dried, and then it’ll get delivered to whichever local person purchases it.”
By agreeing to purchase and mill this precious local cedar with an as-of-now incomplete list of buyers for the product, Cody is putting himself, and his business, out on a limb. We’d really love it if that limb was a solid branch. The more interest Wayland Constructive has in the wood, the more Valley View logs they’ll be able to purchase over the next few months, meaning that a larger amount of locally sourced wood will stay within the community.
One of the products Cody plans to build with the cedar are saunas, which he’ll be selling in addition to rough, custom-cut and kiln-dried lumber packages.
To purchase milled Western redcedar wood for individual use from the Valley View Forest, please contact Cody Wayland, Wayland Constructive, waylandconstructive[at]gmail.com.
Interested in whole-log purchase of Western redcedar or other species? Please contact Preserve Manager Carrie Clendaniel at cclendaniel[at]saveland.org to discuss your needs. We can help whole-log buyers connect with local sawmills who can provide custom milling; log buyers will be responsible for transportation and processing.