Founded in 1989, the non-profit Intermountain Roundwood Association (IRA) represents the economic and educational interests of harvesters, producers and marketers of roundwood and associated products, materials and supplies. We provide members with a central and unified voice at state, regional and federal levels concerning timber issues, the forest products industry, wood-preserving standards and forest health issues.
The Early Years
Prior to 1989 many post yard owners were beginning to participate in ad hoc meetings, treating classes and tours of their yards. When approaching state and federal government personnel, operators were told they needed to form an association in order to be properly recognized. There were two motivating issues at the time. First was supply. Many yards relied on the National Forests for the majority of their raw material. The second issue was changes in wood-treating regulations. Owners needed a way to obtain information about those changes and develop lines of communication among themselves.
The founding members of the IRA recognized that their common interest in industry issues — as well as their friendships — would make a strong foundation for a successful association.
The first board met on April 18, 1989 after the Articles of Incorporation and logo were accepted by the state of Montana. Harold Bouma became the association’s registered agent and the first newsletter was sent to the membership in July of 1989.
Terry Claver of Glassco Lumber was our first president. Harold Bouma of Bouma Post Yards was vice-president and Sue Falk of Stevensville Post & Pole was secretary-treasurer. Rounding out the board were Byrne Gebhardt, Gebhardt Post & Lumber; Dave Guelff, Nine Mile Posts & Rails; Dale Pelton, Kalispell Pole & Timber Co.; and Jim Pokorny, North Idaho Post & Pole.
IRA currently represents manufacturers of roundwood and associated products throughout the Inland West region. Our membership also includes those businesses and individuals involved in the roundwood industry, including preservative manufacturers, equipment suppliers and consultants.
A variety of species are suitable for use as roundwood. Species are region-specific and each is unique in the characteristics that affect its suitability for use. Among species used extensively by IRA members are Lodgepole Pine, Ponderosa Pine, Douglas Fir, Southern Pine, Western Hemlock, Western Larch and Aspen.