Many residents may not know how far-sighted the city’s forefathers were in purchasing a few thousand acres 15 miles north of the city.
Glen Wild in the town of Edinburgh, Saratoga County, is home to the city’s drinking water supply, a resource valued last year at $105 million and part of the reason development along Route 30 is occurring and companies such as Beech-Nut have decided to locate nearby.
But water isn’t the only valuable resource. The 5,000 acres are covered with healthy, top-quality trees that generate more than $50,000 for the city annually.
This year the city budgeted $50,000 in revenue from the sale of its timber but signed a contract Tuesday with Northville-based A & W Logging to sell the trees for just over $90,000.
Water treatment plant supervisor Michael Ryba said the city has been selling the trees at Glen Wild to loggers for 30 years.
“Logging isn’t new to Amsterdam,” he said.
The contract goes to the highest bidder each year. Several years ago, loggers found a patch of cherry trees that sold for $120,000.
Christopher Prentis, a forester with the company, said the logging is done responsibly and the available trees are clearly marked. About 4,000 trees are expected to be cut down this year.
Every year the city budgets $50,000 from the sale of its timber until bids come in. Prentis said given the market this year he would have anticipated a conservative bid of at least $60,000. He said the quality of the product and the need for wood pulp by paper mills has produced a good price this year.
This year the forest has yielded a large quantity of “high quality” sugar maples, according to Prentis. In the midst of the housing crisis, maple is one of the few species that isn’t losing its value, Prentis said.
“The size of the sugar maples and the quality up there was really nice and a lot of guys offered to pay top dollar for that,” Prentis said.
Seven companies bid for the job; the next lowest bid was for $87,000.
After the trees are cut down, Prentis said they will be sold to a log broker or buyer, who will probably put them on a shipping container to Europe or China where Prentis said there is typically a good market in December and January.
Pulpwood to make paper is also in demand.
Prentis said the loggers will probably sell wood to local paper mills Finch Paper LLC in Glens Falls or International Paper in Ticonderoga.