The sawmill/planer operations of McDonald Ranch & Lumber Ltd. started more than 60 years ago in the scenic community of Grasmere as an offshoot of the ranching business, and over the years has grown into a thriving business of its own. Family owned and operated, the lumber business started by Doug McDonald, is run by his son Glenn. The McDonald cattle ranch is in the hands of Doug’s brother Andy and his son Cam.
The ranch provides only a part of the timber the mill requires, McDonald Lumber also bids on timber sales and hires contractors to harvest and steward the forests. Using local fir, larch, ponderosa pine, SPF and western red cedar, they produce boards, decking, dimension lumber, studs, railways ties and large timbers for residential framing. The McDonald sawmill turns out anywhere from 1.5 to 2 million board feet of lumber annually, running single shifts. Not believing in wasting resources, all of the fibre gets used with bark being processed at a plant Elko, sawdust becoming pellets in Eureka, and chips going to Tembec’s Skookumchuck pulp mill.
The McDonald’s have kept costs down by supplying much of their own power with a small hydroelectric plant and have both the ranch and the mill has helped them succeed through challenging times, and market downturns. Their family ties and community support have built a business that continues to grow along with new generations.