WEYERHAEUSER Worked by loggers who risked their lives to fell trees, great stands of Washington evergreens built the American West and a timber empire recognized across the world.

Few great lumbermen in history rival Frederick Weyerhaeuser. As the 20th century dawned, the German immigrant seized 900,000 acres of forestland and harnessed an untapped fortune. The transaction, one of American history’s largest, was only the beginning. The company acquired land, opened a variety of mills and renewed its resource. Eventually, it became the largest timber producer on earth.

  • Washington forests aided national defense in global conflict. Weyerhaeuser supplied wood for airplanes, ships, barracks and military depots. In 1940, army housing required 1,500 board feet per soldier, an unmatched demand for timber.
  • Few trading partners are more crucial to Weyerhaeuser than Japan. In 1923, when the Great Kanto Earthquake leveled buildings and houses across the country’s central region, Weyerhaeuser assisted in recovery and began a longstanding relationship.
  • The Weyerhaeuser Company, early in its history, learned the value of sustainable forestry as away to thrive and maintain its global presence. It opened the nation’s first tree farm near Montesano, Washington, in 1941, prompting the American Tree Farm movement. Weyerhaeuser plants some 66 million seedlings annually.
  • Over time, Weyerhaeuser evolved into the world producer of softwood lumber; became co-owner of Norpac, the biggest newsprint facility in North America; and acquired or controlled 20 million acres of timber in North America.

Main background image: Courtesy Weyerhaeuser Company

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The Northern Spotted Owl symbolizes the delicate balance between economic growth and the environment. The listing of the owl as an endangered species in the spring of 1990 restricts logging and sparks decades of controversy. “It is the accumulated actions of all of us—those of us who admire a beautiful wood-paneled wall, environmentalists who want their grandchildren to know the ancient forests, and those of us who come from generations of hardworking, hard-living loggers. We are all at fault, because all of us wanted the days of abundance to go on forever, but we didn’t plan, and we didn’t manage for that end.” - Jolene Unsoeld, former WA Congresswoman.


“I’m always watching for the outstanding tree. Those exceptions that you run into with timber that are just too pretty to cut. It’s a shame. You do the very best job possible. Loggers are a special breed of men. They enjoy working outdoors, facing the elements day to day. They enjoy a challenge. I think logging is one of the few challenging jobs left in the industry.”

-George Simmons, Cutting Foreman, Simpson Timber Company
“Strong Winds and Widow-Makers”
Buzz Martin, The Singing Logger

We’re the northwest unsung hero,
the backbone of this land,
Where there walks a timber faller,
we claim there walks a man.

The riggin’ crew and the sawmill boys,
they’re always puttin’ us down,
But they can’t log ‘em and they can’t saw ‘em,
if we don’t cut them down.

Photo Courtesy Washington State Historical Society