Brent Cole Sr. and his crew (including two of Brent’s sons) scour the forests of Prince of Wales Island and the surrounding islands and waters for Sitka spruce trees that have fallen, are floating in the water, or are being retired from service in a booming ground, bridge structure or floating house. As a lifetime hunter of fallen and cast-off Sitka, Brent automatically scans the forest when he’s out hunting and fishing in the Alaskan wilderness. A healthy old-growth forest has an even canopy – something will always grow toward the sun and fill in the holes. If there is a break in the canopy, it means a large tree has recently fallen. From across the draw, sometimes he’ll spot an opening, where the forest looks thin, and he’ll hike a mile or more to investigate, and crawl up under the brush to check it out. Whether on land or by sea, Brent and his team discover salvageable trees, one by one, and obtain individual permits for each individual tree and reclaim them, bringing the logs back to the ASW shop in Craig, Alaska for processing and drying.
As a kid growing up in Chicago, Brent’s parents taught him not to waste and impressed on him the importance of being a responsible steward of the earth. As a result, even as a child Brent was deeply concerned about the wise use of resources (at the age of 6, he wanted to be a conservationist when he grew up). Brent started ASW in 1995 as a one-chainsaw operation, and since then he and his family have grown the business steadily and responsibly. Brent’s childhood ideals hold true to this day: When salvaging trees, Brent and his team don’t look for the easy way, they look for the right way.
“Being a good steward by protecting our corner of the world, the Southeast Alaska rainforest, is one of my most important principles in our business. I am absolutely thrilled to be working with a company that shares my passion. Tom Bedell gets it.”
Brent Cole Sr., Alaska Specialty Wood