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The Ward Family Legacy

The finished product is revered in the industry as some of the best white pine available anywhere in the world.

The byproducts

At the same time, none of the byproducts go to waste. The bark is used for mulch; the unsaleable lumber goes to chips which is sold to the International Paper Mill in Ticonderoga. Even the sawdust is saved and used to fire the room-sized furnace that drives the kilns and heats the plant.

According to Jeff, the sawdust replaces more than 230,000 gallons of fuel oil annually.

"With the cost of fuel oil last year, we would not have made it," he said.

While the Ward family owns about 5,000 acres of active timberland, only about 3 percent of its logs comes from that land. The remainder comes from local loggers, helping infuse money back into the Adirondack economy.

The white pine produced here is purchased by local do-it-yourselfers, contractors and wholesalers. While the Ward mill is one of the largest white pine mills in the state, it pales in size to some of the sawmills in places like Maine.

But that doesn't mean it pales in quality.

"We've actually sold our product in those areas because of its quality," Ward said. "We may not be the biggest, but we try to be the best - offering high quality at the best price."

A solid foundation, a stable future

So, what's the future look like for Ward Lumber?

With $15 million in annual sales and an employee force the Ward brothers would put up against any in the industry, the company is aligned for another 119 years.

And, the technological improvements are not going to end anytime soon, at least if Jeff has anything to say about it.

"The newest technology includes CAT and X-Ray which allows a grader to see inside a log and identify defects otherwise undetectable," he said.

"I think you'll also see the process become less hands on in the future, and more computerized."

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