The “Standard Mill” lives on

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

     In my award worthy “One Best Hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome” book, I talk about the huge lumber mill that is on the north of Highway 120 just east of the Highway 108 split. (See page 37). If you drive this route to get to Yosemite, look to your left after Chinese Camp. Here you can see Sierra Pacific Industries’ lumber processing facility. It’s called the “Standard Mill.”  Sierra Pacific Industries is a family-owned forest products company based in Anderson, Shasta County. I’ve seen stacks of logs easily 50 feet high there. Well, over a year ago, the crummy economy led to the announcement that it was shutting down.  Established in 1901, the mill has been a major element in the lumber industry in the Sonora area. The plant was being shuttered and its 300 jobs eliminated. But the Good Witch of the North waved her wand and now Sierra Pacific Industries reports that the Standard Mill is remodeling and the mill is expected to reopen in May.

     The old mill was demolished and the new construction is half of the way complete. SPI closed the Standard Mill in 2009 because it only had tools capable of cutting large logs, more than 26 inches in diameter, which were becoming increasingly unavailable. Smaller logs — used for making 2-by-4 and 2-by-6 planks — had to be shipped to a different mill in Lincoln, a town approximately two and a half hours away. The remodeled mill will have tools to cut both small and large logs, which broadens the number of products the company can offer and ensures consistent access to logs. The company line up a year’s worth of logs for each of its mills as insurance against supply problems. They expect to hire about 130 employees when the mill opens in May. Any laid off C++ programmers or JAVA specialists want to apply?

    As the Silver Spirit sails westward through the Windward Islands, we hit bad weather and were forced to bypass both St. Barts and Spanishtown. We anchor today at Tortola. I gave my 1 hour Yosemite talk yesterday and included about 15 minutes of Half Dome coverage.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “I totally take back all those times I didn’t want to nap when I was younger.” – A wise old man 

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch –


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