Happy Ending! The Planned Closing of Pyramid, Announced in November in the story below, did not happen. Pyramid was reorganized with new financing arranged for by Missoula County and others.
For the Happy Ending, jump ahead
to this story in May, 2001.

On Pyramid's Closing

November 16, 2000
Seeley Swan Pathfinder
Seeley Lake, Montana

Bad news comes suddenly and we're never fully prepared, even if we had anticipated that at some time it might happen. That time could always be further into the future, and we wish it were.

But, it's here, and now, with the announcement Tuesday that Pyramid Mountain Lumber will be closing.

Those words above, in print, announcing the end, are words that the owners and management at Pyramid have struggled to avoid for the past decade.

A small, independent mill without the capitalization and resources required to survive today's markets, Pyramid fought back valiantly through timber sale shortages on national forests, costly raw log deliveries from Eastern Montana, widely swinging price fluctuations, and an onslaught of imports from Canada, Europe, South America and New Zealand. They have been buffeted by national and worldwide market forces beyond their control.

Over the last decade they had many successes and appeared to be able to defy all the odds. They kept succeeding when other small mills couldn't make it. But, when two out of three years turn bad, only the larger companies survive.

We know this is a decision taken reluctantly as the owners are families whose children have gone to schools here, left and returned. This is not what they had foreseen happening to their dreams in earlier, less complicated times.

Everyone here is affected, directly or indirectly, and there will be ripples throughout the local economy. But, the local economy has changed over the years and is relying more and more on the tourist, retirees and new entrepeneurs bringing in outside money. These factors will help to dampen, somewhat, the blow we will feel from the loss of Pyramid.

Beyond the economics, it's the end of an era, and we're old enough that we are very sad to see the end to an era. Change is the order of the day and championed as something good. Change is inevitable, but we're not sure if it's good or bad. The past fifty years with Pyramid have been good for Seeley Lake. We're happy to have caught the past 12 years here with Pyramid, whose people have enriched this community immeasurably. We shall be poorer for their loss.

--Gary Noland, editor