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May 26, 2021

5 Things to Know About Marks Lumber

Tags: Sustainable Lumber Practices

You may or may not have heard about Marks Lumber until now, but chances are, if you've made it this far, you might be considering doing business with us. If that's the case, there are some things you should know about us that make our company unique. Here are five things to know about Marks Lumber as a business, a building partner and supplier, and an environmental steward.

Marks Lumber is a Family Business of Over 75 Years

Way back in 1938, Merle Marks installed a sawmill on the Marks Ranch, milling products for agricultural use and for his neighbors. The Marks family continued milling, mainly to supplement their cattle ranch operation, throughout the 40s and 50s. In the 1980s, Steve Marks (grandson of Merle) and his wife Laura retrofitted the old mill and began making railroad cross-ties to support their cattle operation.

While manufacturing cross-ties, design and construction began on the current mill, which was completed in 2000. Since completing this larger sawmill, Marks Lumber has continued to innovate and add to its capabilities, eventually building an in-house timber frame shop, office, and showroom to showcase its many products and services. Today, the Marks family still owns the ranch and lumber business in Clancy, Montana, employing many family members and friends. Marks Lumber takes pride in carrying on the Marks family tradition and serving its community in Montana.

Circle Sawn Lumber Is Our Thing

Manufacturing quality timber products has always been Marks Lumber's core mission, and our product evolution and innovation have been the key to our success thus far. Early on, owner Steve Marks saw potential in the original railroad tie manufacturing process, recognizing that the material produced could easily be modified and used in almost any building. Today, all of our products, including timbers, lumber, siding, and flooring, still boast a rustic, circle-sawn texture, resulting in a product that epitomizes the authentic "Montana look." It harkens back to our Montana roots on the ranch and is incredibly popular with our customers. Our products can now be found all across Montana and throughout the nation, in everything from barns and cabins to resorts and multi-million-dollar mansions.

We Are Dedicated to Sustainable Forestry

Marks Lumber has pledged to be responsible stewards of Montana's forests, utilizing forestry's Best Management Practices as a guide to protecting our land and waterways in logging operations. We are committed to the long-term viability of the Montana timber products manufacturing industry and our environment as a whole, which is why we work to buy logs exclusively harvested in an ecologically sound fashion. By applying modern forestry's Best Management Practices, Marks Lumber and our suppliers ensure that these forests are healthier after our logging projects than they were before we got there. These healthy forests provide better wildlife habitats, experience faster growth, and sequester carbon.

As part of our dedication to responsible forestry and the timber products industry, we are continually improving and learning about modern forestry practices, habitat bio-diversity, fire mitigation techniques, and energy efficiency. If you are interested in learning more about sustainable forestry, check out our blogs on Montana's Best Management Practices and the Brooklyn Bridge Project.

We Are a Company of Montanans, and We Care About Our Community

The Marks Lumber team is made of local Montanans and avid outdoors people who enjoy hiking, biking, backcountry skiing, fishing, and hunting, to name a few. Steve and the Marks Lumber crew are active in organizations that benefit our industry, environment, and what we believe is doing the right thing. We are members of many noteworthy organizations, including the Montana Logging Association, Timber Products Manufacturers Association, Forest Stewardship Foundation, Montana Contractors Association, and Helena Area Chamber of Commerce. We continuously seek opportunities to help our community.

For example, we recently partnered with Helena Food Share, where we donated a portion of all split firewood sales from December and January to their organization. In the summer of 2020, we also donated our time to help assemble a pavilion for the City of East Helena's Main Street Park. These are just a few examples of the many ways Marks Lumber gives back to the community.

Marks Lumber Utilizes the Whole Log

Another key to the company's success is our ability to use the whole log and generate revenue from previously non-performing wood fiber investments. This gives us a competitive advantage and simultaneously reduces our process's overall carbon footprint. Marks Lumber primarily uses a mobile grinder to turn waste wood into marketable products. Engineered Wood Fiber (EWF), certified by the International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA), and industrial bio-fuels used to fuel boilers and dryers at industrial facilities are just a few of the products we produce from our wood waste. Traditionally, most of this waste would either be burned on location or left to decompose, eventually releasing the carbon previously sequestered in trees into the atmosphere.

From timber frames to siding, flooring, and EWF, we do our best to make something out of every inch of the log, reducing our waste and overall carbon footprint.

At Marks, our process is full of history, intention, and good, hardworking people. We wouldn't have it any other way. Interested in working with us? Reach out to us, or stop by and visit us at our showroom!

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