Pioneer Forest Products has chosen a site on which to process the anticipated 300,000 acres of Ponderosa pine to be harvested over the next ten years from the Apache-Sitgreaves, Coconino, Kaibab and Tonto national forests. Pioneer CEO Herman Hauck stated that the site covers 311 acres on the south end of Winslow near the airport. The construction of the facility will begin in January 2013.
While many environmentalist groups and the general public are eager for the thinning project and the influx of new jobs to begin, other groups are expressing disappointment and even anger at Pioneer being awarded the contract.
Both the Grand Canyon Trust and The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) issued similar statements of discontent, with trust officials stating they were “shocked and extremely disappointed” in the selection of Pioneer for the contract. Both groups had worked closely with AZFRP (Arizona Forest Restoration Products) for the past seven years with the expectation that AZFRP would be awarded the contract. The company, which dissolved following the selection of Pioneer, was created specifically to meet the needs of the thinning project.