Town of Ashland, Maine to Invest in Environmentally Sustainable Wood Building Product Manufacturing

The town of Ashland Maine recently joined a new initiative that has as its goal to begin investing in a more environmentally sustainable wood building product. Original Mass Timber Maine is a three-year market development program with the goal of opening at least one facility to manufacture original mass timber, also known as structural round timber (SRT), within the next two years. Through partnerships with the Ashland-based Seven Islands Land Company and Madison, Wisconsin-based Whole Tree Structures, Original Mass Timber Maine is looking to transform a former hardwood manufacturing site in Ashland into a fabrication facility for SRT. Unlike laminated veneer lumber and similar products, SRT does not require harvesting, slicing or adhesive glue — all of which are part of the engineered wood products manufacturing process. According to Greg Cabral, director of market development for Original Mass Timber Maine, “SRT is truly the whole tree, with minimal processing required. You’re keeping the natural form and structure of trees and benefiting the environment.”

Currently, Original Mass Timber Maine and its partners have teamed up with the University of Maine to study the exact environmental benefits, which they are predicting could include less carbon emissions during manufacturing and less disruption to a natural forest landscape. Cabral went on to say that although SRT markets have been successful on the West Coast for a while, investors are just now starting to look at East Coast markets. Original Mass Timber Maine has received $600,000 in grants from the Maine-based Forest Opportunity Roadmap, the Maine Development Foundation and the Future Forest Economy Initiative, affiliated with the Northern Forest Center. The next steps, according to Cabral, will include seeking other potential investors and distribution markets for SRT products.

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Ashland-based initiative seeks to create new market for structural round timber