Our Commitment TO Sustainability
Eastern White Pine has perhaps the greatest history and heritage in this country of any native wood species. A giant of the forests in the Northeast, they have long towered over the canopy and were immediately sought after for ship masts for the British fleet. Easily worked, dimensionally stable, and beautiful, Eastern White Pine soon became the preferred wood for timber framing, siding, flooring, paneling, and hundreds of other uses. As a testament to its longevity, there are many 200 year old houses standing today, with the original Eastern White Pine beams and clapboard siding intact and looking beautiful.
Robbins Lumber takes the sustainability of the white pine resource extremely seriously in their manufacturing, forest management, and land conservation activities.
Nothing goes to waste as pine logs are turned into beautiful lumber products.
Bark is collected and sold to landscapers for mulch.
Green sawdust is sold to farmers and to pellet manufacturers for home heating.
Green chips are sold to mills for paper manufacturing
Excess steam from biomass power plant operations is used to dry lumber in the kilns
Planer mill shavings are sold to horse farmers for bedding
Other wood by products are used as fuel in the biomass plant
Obviously, the health of the Maine forests is directly tied to the success of Robbins Lumber. Over 30,000 acres of forest is owned and sustainably managed by Robbins Lumber in accordance with modern, scientific forestry practices. The company has two full time foresters on staff that manage company-owned lands and are also available to assist small private forestland owners. They offer a free initial visit to walk out a portion of your property. This is a great opportunity to consult with a licensed forester and receive some initial guidance in deciding what is best for your woodlot. Please contact us for more information or to schedule your initial visit.
In addition, the mill buys logs from over 150 independent loggers. These professional loggers maintain high standards of safety and environmental performance. They are trained in current best management practices for water quality protection and erosion control. Robbins Lumber routinely hosts and sponsors logger education training.
To increase utilization of forest products and to provide the landowners and loggers with a higher return from forest management activities, the mill also buys whole tree chips to provide fuel for the biomass power plant on site.
In 1997, Robbins Lumber Company began working with the state of Maine to conserve an entire township that they had recently acquired to manage for forest products. According to Jim Robbins, "When we first bought the Nicatous land we believed we'd be forced to sell the shoreline for development. But one day we got out on the lake in a boat. Just ahead of us three bald eagles were sitting in a tree and we could hear loons calling. I said to my brother, 'We have to find another way.'" In 2000, through a combination of a working forest easement and the state acquisition of key shoreline areas, the ecological, recreational, and economic values of over 20,000 acres surrounding Nicatous Lake in eastern Maine were protected in perpetuity.
The centerpiece of this property is 5,100-acre Nicatous Lake, widely considered to be one of Maine's most beautiful water bodies with its pristine sand beaches, intricate coves and 98 islands. It lies along an historic Penobscot River Indian canoe trail (now the Eastern Maine Canoe Trail) and is the hub for paddling routes down the Union, Narraguagus and West Machias rivers.
Nicatous is one of the top five loon-nesting lakes in Maine, and has three bald eagle nesting sites. There are six deer-wintering areas in the area and ample range for species such a bobcat and black bear. Nearby West Lake supports trophy-sized land-locked salmon that grow up to 7 pounds.
The innovative plan to protect this ecological and recreational haven began when Robbins Lumber expressed interest in keeping its land undeveloped. By purchasing an easement on the Robbins land and additional acreage owned by International Paper, the State helped to foster sustainable forest management while extinguishing all development rights on the land, protecting shoreline buffers, and conserving wildlife habitat and opportunities for traditional recreation. In addition to the easement, the State acquired 76 of the 98 islands in Nicatous Lake and a 243-acre parcel connecting the 25,200-acre Duck Lake Public Reserve Unit to Nicatous Lake.
The success of this project depended on a strong partnership in which Maine Coast Heritage Trust, The Forest Society of Maine and The Trust for Public Land pooled their skills and resources to assist the former landowners and the Bureau of Parks and Lands in negotiations and fundraising. A generous grant from the Land for Maine's Future Program helped Maine's Congressional Delegation secure $3 million from the federal Forest Legacy Program which protects important forests from conversion to other uses.