Forest Management

Of the 860,000 acres of forested trust lands in Utah, more than 35,000 have commercial value. Trust Lands offers several timber and small forest product sales per year to ensure the trust lands are being used to their full potential.

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Timber Sales

Local sawmills have several chances each year to purchase timber. Popular purchases are Douglas fir, Engleman spruce, lodgepole pine, and aspen.

Small Forest Product

Firewood, poles, fence posts, and wildland seed are sold at all Trust Lands offices. A permit is required for harvesting these items on trust lands.

Christmas Trees

Christmas tree harvesting is not permitted on trust lands. For information on the US Forest Service’s Christmas tree permit process click below.

Aspen Regeneration Project

Trust Lands protects the Tabby Mountain forest from wildfires with a multi-phase aspen regeneration project. The project also improves wildlife habitat and protects the local watershed while helping provide revenue for trust land beneficiaries.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Strategic timber sales improve long-term forest health by

  • Reducing wildfire risk
  • Harvesting mature trees prone to disease
  • Promoting growth of young, disease-resistant trees
  • Reducing pine beetle devastation
  • Preserving and promoting the forest understory
  • Creating conditions that will allow the forest to renew itself

Timber harvesting is a vital part of sustainable forest management. It mimics natural fire cycles with far less risk and promotes healthy forest regeneration while reducing fuel for wildfires. It also protects the forest from bark beetle, pine beetle, and other pathogens that have ravaged forests across the west.

Leaving trees in place may be more aesthetically pleasing for the short-term, but long-term forest health will suffer from stagnant stands, beetle-kill, and intense wildfires, all of which can make forest regeneration difficult, if not impossible. Timber harvesting projects are necessary so that people may enjoy the forest for generations to come.

Forests in the western United States have been harmed by outbreaks of several beetle species. In some infected stands, up to 90 percent of trees have been killed. Beetle-killed trees reduce the visual appeal of the forest and greatly increase wildfire danger. In any area where a beetle epidemic is present, mature, disease-prone trees must be harvested while they are still healthy and producing good seed stock, offering the best potential for regrowth.

To obtain the proper conditions for regrowth, it is sometimes necessary to harvest a majority of trees in some areas, leaving behind only young, disease-resistant trees. All roads, landings, and other disturbed areas are reclaimed and reseeded to encourage new, disease-resistant growth. All harvests are conducted according to a timber harvest plan, which is carefully developed using scientifically-proven silviculture techniques.

Once the forest canopy is removed, the understory (underlying seed cones) has access to light and nutrients, allowing saplings to take root and eventually grow into a new forest canopy, which can take 20 years or more.

Logging operations may occur year-round, even during winter months. Depending on ground and weather conditions, and contractor scheduling, you will see periods of activity and inactivity throughout a contract period.

Utah Trust Lands is a quasi-independent state agency tasked with managing the state’s 3.4 million acres of trust lands. Trust lands are parcels held in trust to support 12 state institutions—primarily public schools—but also state hospitals, teaching colleges, and universities. At the time of statehood, Congress granted trust lands to Utah and created permanent endowments. Trust Lands is constitutionally mandated to build and grow these endowments on behalf of trust beneficiaries.

Proceeds generated from the sale of trust land timber go to the Permanent School Fund or to other beneficiaries. Income generated from the investment of the school fund is distributed annually to public schools, and similar distributions occur for other trust beneficiaries.

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