A Brief History
Thomas Barlow (TB) Walker formed the Red River Lumber Company in 1885. The name was taken from the river between Minnesota and North Dakota, which was used to float logs to the mills from the winter cutting. TB Walker made trees turn into money and, through hard work and keen business sense, he became a lumber baron and an important figure in Minneapolis. TB was attracted to the region of dense forest in northern California, where he had vacationed since the late 1880s. In late 1912, the Red River Lumber Company cut its first log in California and, early the next spring, with a threshing machine engine and a circular saw on skids, the mill cut it into lumber.
Over time, the original lands of the Red River Lumber Company were partitioned to various family members or sold to other timber and wood products interests including Kimberly Clark, among others. Shasta Forests was created in 1944 by the liquidation of Red River Lumber Company, and the family as undivided owners retained much of the timberlands today. In the following decades, Ralph Smith acquired various undivided interests in these lands from Walker family members who wanted to exit the timber business. In 1962 his R. L. Smith Lumber Co. ceased saw milling operations and sold these interests to Kimberly-Clark, a publicly traded company, that was partitioned out in 1967.
Bill Beaty, who was weaned on forestry in Susanville, had provided forester services for various parts of the Walker timber holdings, and was chief forester for SHAFCO, worked on this partitioning. The resulting Red River Forests co-ownership was composed of the Archie D. (Pop) Walker Family and the Richardson B. Okie Family, who wanted to shake free of the "liquidation harvest" policy and cut selectively. In 1973, Bill Beaty formed a forest management firm and incorporated it as the W.M. Beaty & Associates, Inc., based in Redding, California.
Since then, the Walker and Okie successor owners to the original Red River Lumber Company timberlands, have had those properties managed under a professional services agreement with W.M. Beaty & Associates, Inc. In 1994 Red River Forests Partnership was formed to own these timberlands. At present these lands are owned by several limited liability companies which, in turn, are subsidiaries of Red River Forests LLC, the successor to Red River Forests Partnership. 2019 marked 45 years of the successful relationship between the owners of these timberlands and W.M. Beaty & Associates, the managers of these forests.