The sale of SDS Lumber Company and Stevenson Land Company’s vast holdings of timberlands and operations was finalized last week, Nov. 17.

Three entities, including Silver Creek Capital’s fund Twin Creeks Timber, LLC, The Conservation Fund, and Carson-based WKO, Inc., will take over the vast lumber operations SDS Lumber Co. attained over 75 years of management.

According to an announcement from The Conservation Fund, each entity will solely manage its own specific acquired lands or assets, according to an announcement from the consortium.

Included in the transaction are over 96,080 acres of timberlands with environmental and community importance near the Columbia River in Washington and Oregon and the lumber and plywood mills and associated assets in Bingen.

Green Diamond Management Company, in its role as manager and co-investor in Twin Creeks Timber, LLC, will manage 61,000 acres of the timberlands as working forests to support the local economy while upholding their practice of long-term forest stewardship.

“We are pleased to continue a legacy of forest management set by SDS in its tenure on these timberlands,” said Douglas Reed, President of Green Diamond Resource Company. “We look forward to working in the region, managing forests for long-term value.”

According to the announcement, Green Diamond will maintain staff and an office in the area and continue forest management operations. The timberlands will be managed under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Standard® environmental certification program and state forest practices laws and rules to protect clean air and water, wildlife and soils.

The Conservation Fund, through an affiliate, has acquired more than 35,000 acres of the SDS timberlands, including important oak habitat, river frontage and municipal drinking water sources. The national non-profit’s purchase provides time to fundraise, develop and implement a range of permanent conservation strategies with local partners that will seek to secure public recreational access, ensure sustainable timber harvesting, and preserve the natural, climate and community values of the land.

In addition, The Conservation Fund and Green Diamond are committed to work together to place conservation easements on the former SDS lands managed by Green Diamond that will provide environmental protection while continuing sustainable timber production. Larry Selzer, CEO of The Conservation Fund remarked, “This unique transaction sets the stage for one of the largest conservation victories in the Pacific Northwest, and it demonstrates how sophisticated conservation finance and the private market can work together to achieve the best outcomes that balance environmental and community priorities with economic sustainability. Replicating this innovative approach will be essential to accelerating efforts to ensure the sustainable management of large, existing forests across the U.S. — one of the most effective strategies available right now to combat climate change.”

The Conservation Fund’s acquisition was possible through its Working Forest Fund®, dedicated to mitigating climate change, strengthening rural economies and protecting natural ecosystems through the permanent conservation of at-risk working forests. Capital from the organization’s green bonds — the first of its kind dedicated to conservation in the U.S. — was part of a mixed capital strategy that enabled the purchase, including a loan from the Richard King Mellon Foundation enabled the purchase.

The timberland purchasers will each assume and continue the terms of the Safe Harbor Agreement established by SDS Co., LLC to protect the northern spotted owl.

Wilkins, Kaiser & Olsen, Inc. (WKO) ownership has acquired and will continue to operate the Bingen mills under the SDS Lumber name. The ownership group has two modern state-of-the art facilities in the region. The Carson, Wash., sawmill and planer mill with boiler and dry kilns, specializing in high quality kiln dried dimensional lumber has been in operation since 1962. The Mt. Hood Forest Products sawmill near Hood River, which is a green Douglas-fir dimensional lumber producer, was acquired in 2002 and began operations in 2004. Between the two mills, production exceeds 300 million board feet annually.

“Our company couldn’t be more excited about the acquisition of the SDS Lumber facilities. We have held a mutual respect with the ownership and management of SDS for decades as operators in the Columbia Gorge and we look forward to continuing operations at the Bingen mill site,” said Bill Wilkins, CEO of WKO.

“We spent a year focused on a thoughtful transition that led us to this proposal. We are pleased to have completed the sale with these respected organizations. Under their leadership, the timberlands, the mill, the employees and the community are poised for a bright future,” said Jeff Webber, president for SDS Lumber Company and SDS Co., LLC (Stevenson Land Company).