A new wood manufacturing plant is being planned on property southwest of Dolores.
Jeff Bunnell, of Iron Wood Group LLC, said the company is refurbishing a warehouse on Road T in Montezuma County that was a plywood factory many decades ago.
The plan is to produce veneer and custom siding from trees logged from the San Juan National Forest.
“We are excited to bring manufacturing to the area, and there are a lot of excess trees in the national forest for our products,” Bunnell said.
The new business plan was recently presented to the Dolores Town Board and Montezuma County Board of Commissioners.
The company plans for a manufacturing division and a logging division and expects to create dozens of jobs, Bunnell said. The business model is to log smaller trees that are in less demand, but which need thinning to improve forest health, he said. The mill can also process deadwood and beetle-killed trees into its products.
Milling equipment is being shipped in, and more renovations are underway on the building. Initial startup could begin as early as this summer, and full operations are expected in 12-18 months, Bunnell told the Dolores Town Board.
More truck traffic is expected for Dolores as loggers make their way back and forth to the forest. Trucker safety is strictly enforced, Bunnell said, and is written into the contracts.
After studying the logging potential of Colorado, Bunnell and other families in the industry moved from Oregon to Southwest Colorado to start up the business.
“We love the area and want to be here for a long time,” he said.