History of the Manufacturing Division of Seven Islands Land Co.

Northern Maine has seen a shift from the predominant softwood economy of the last three decades to hardwood pulp chips, lumber, and value added products. Prior to 1998, no major hardwood lumber mill or chipping facility operated north of Millinocket with the exception of the Houlton Chip Plant. Hardwood logs traditionally went to Canada to be processed. In 1998, Maine Woods Company LLC was started by members of the Pingree Family who desired to manufacture hardwood lumber in Northern Maine, utilizing the hardwood logs harvested from their lands. A state-of-the-art hardwood lumber mill was built in 1999 in Portage, Maine. The goals of establishing the mill were to vertically integrate it with the family’s 800,000 acre timberland ownerships located in the state, as well as to manufacture high quality hardwood lumber.

In the beginning, Maine Woods Company employed approximately 40 employees and produced 40,000 board feet of lumber per shift. Today, the complex employs 65 workers and produces over 80,000 board feet of hardwood lumber per shift. Approximately 60% of the total production is kiln dried to customer specifications and further processed as required by the customer. The current annual lumber production is 15 million board feet on a single shift basis, positioning the mill in the top 10 hardwood lumber mills in the U.S. All lumber is certified sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council®.

At approximately the same time the mill was built, Georgia Pacific acquired leasing rights and built a hardwood chipping facility on the former Great Northern site in Portage, across from Maine Woods Company. When GP sold their Woodland mill to Domtar and closed their Old Town mill, the company had no need for the Portage Chip Plant and shut it down. In 2006, the Pingree family acquired the facility and integrated it with Maine Woods Company. The pulp chip market for the plant has been diversified to minimize risk associated with the current pulp and paper markets. Today the chip plant produces over 300,000 tons of chips each year.

MooseWood Millworks is the latest acquisition by Seven Islands, purchased in June 2012 from Kelly Lumber in Ashland, ME. The mill consists of breakdown, moulding, and warehouse buildings, kilns, and a new biomass boiler. MooseWood currently employs 29 workers and produces over 1.5 million square feet of flooring each year. Sales of flooring average over 1.6 million square feet each year. MooseWood helps to further support management initiatives and provide stable hardwood markets for Seven Islands and is highly integrated with MWC, which supplies low grade lumber to MooseWood to produce flooring.

The Portage and Ashland sites are an excellent — and perhaps the only example — of a fully integrated hardwood manufacturing complex in the Northeastern U.S. Drawing from over 5 million acres of timberlands via an off-road network, the mills are well positioned to support the regional hardwood forest, utilizing over 140,000 cords of hardwood per year.

View this informative video of our sawmill operation, Maine Woods Company, to see the modern technology in place to harvest and process our vast supply of hardwood, respecting our environmental commitment to Maine based forests.