- Resource Center
Wrangell has seen continuous operation of sawmills in one form or another for the past 122 years, longer than any other community in Alaska. The first sawmill, operated in 1889, processing 1 million board feet of timber per year. By 1900, that volume increased more than three fold. In the ‘60s and through the early ‘90s, the sawmill in Wrangell processed more than 60 million board feet per year until termination of the 50-year contracts with the Forest Service in the mid 1990's. Today, there are two remaining small mill operators on Wrangell Island processing between 1 and 1.5 million board feet of value added products annually.
In 2010, Wrangell’s 6-mile mill began to be dismantled, and today the site is cleared. While the timber industry as Wrangell knew it no longer exists, there remain two small mill operators on the island that can process approximately 1.5mmbf per year in dimensional and custom cut lumber. The Economic Development Committee developed proposal for various industry initiatives as a spin off of a regional Industry Cluster Initiative and then further refined the Timber Industry Plan to guide community response for State and Federal timber programs and to guide redevelopment potential for industry opportunities in Wrangell.
There is potential to create a small wood manufacturing industrial park in Wrangell. The Borough is working with the US Forest Service on a long term sustainable harvesting plan within Wrangell Ranger District within the requirements of the Tongass Land Management Plan.