Timber has been the foundation of the economy for the Seeley Lake area for the past 100 years. Pyramid Lumber Company has been the "anchor store" since 1948.
Pyramid Mountain Lumber is the oldest surviving family owned and operated lumber mill in Montana. Although most Montana mills are “stud” mills (i.e., only cut 2x4 or 2x6 size boards) PML optimizes each log to cut multidimensional boards to maximize the use of the log. Because of their quality control, they are able to export lumber to Canada in addition to several locations in the U.S.
Seeley Lake’s Pyramid Mountain Lumber is nimble on its feet, while other mills in the West are no longer on the dance floor. Many mills in the West have already closed, leaving their nearby communities with few places to market the products of forest thinning and other stewardship work. Towns in Idaho,Colorado and Arizona are transporting their logs hundreds of miles across state lines to reach the remaining viable mills in their regions.
Pyramid is helping to sustain a local infrastructure that is critical for reducing forest fuels around our homes, while adapting to a changing economy. The timber mill owes its resiliency in part to the partners it has carefully courted.
Pyramid is community-focused, keeping its eyes on the bigger picture, while watching the bottom line. The company’s leaders are astute partnership-builders,going well beyond typical industry alliances to resolve issues affecting timber economics. They bypass polarization and engage former foes.
Pyramid’s Gordy Sanders “...is a good ambassador,” according to Tim Love, Seeley Lake District Ranger. Missoula’s Sierra Club is a recent cooperator, along with the Montana Wilderness Association, which has been collaborating with Pyramid for several years to protect both wilderness and timberlands. Thanks to Gordy’s legwork Pyramid’s strange bedfellows have come to recognize the company’s role in maintaining a sustainable economy and a healthy environment. This kind of collaboration has led to a new dynamic.
by Anne Dahl, President Swan Ecosystem Center, in “Community Forestry Supports a Viable Local Mill,” Seeley Swan Pathfinder--Thursday, February 28, 2008
If you want to learn more about this locally owned community sawmill, there's no better way than to visit. Tours are available to the general public.
Pyramid Mountain Lumber has an open-door policy whereby tours of the mill are available to interested parties to see first-hand how a successful family-owned lumber mill operates. Over the years, Pyramid Mountain Lumber has given tours to busloads full of school-age children for field trips, to governors of the western states, to national and state policy-makers and legislators, and to the general populace.
If you would like to arrange a tour of the Pyramid Mountain Lumber mill, please call (406) 677-2201. Tours must be scheduled ahead of time to ensure availability of tour personnel. Tours typically last 1.5 to 2 hours. Persons participating in the tour must be 8 years of age or older. Also, please keep in mind to wear appropriate clothing and footwear for the season.
If you cannot personally visit the mill, a walk-through tour of photos is available in the Operations section of this web site where you’ll see the process of converting logs to lumber, step by step.