Monday, June 01, 2015

Logging on Goat Island

Tower yarder parked on logging road.
The economy of Powell River and the surrounding region is primarily based on a resources. Logs are extracted for sale to mills down the coast. Pulp is then returned to the Catalyst paper mill, our largest industry. Even though the city of Powell River was founded because of its natural resources, controversy over logging persists, especially when it is in town or other visible areas.

Cables from the yarder run down to a tall tree in the slash.
But when it's far from town, and hidden in the bush, logging goes on day in and day out. In the Powell Lake area, we have Western Forest Products. They are a responsible logging company and work hard to keep the community informed. Every year they take bus loads of town folk out to their logging area to demonstrate their logging and reforestation practices.

On a recent weekend trip to Goat Island with our barge and quads, Wayne and I came upon a fresh cut block with all the equipment parked in place, ready to resume work on Monday. It was really interesting to see everything up close. I'm not an expert at names, but here is what I think we found.

Yarder grapple hanging from the cables.
The first thing we saw was a tower yarder hooked up for cable logging.  Down in the middle of the slash a large spar tree was left in place and supported with guy wires. A cable from the tree ran up to the yarder, allowing it to haul cut logs up to the road for removal. On the ground we found the grapple.  Click here for a good description of the process.

Tigercat Harvester
Next, we came up to a CAT Harvester. This all-in-one piece of heavy equipment can grab a trunk, cut the tree, turn it sideways to strip the limbs, and continue to cut the log into precise lengths. Here's a video I took on the Western Forest Products tour last year.

Looking inside the head of the Harvester
Looking inside the head you could see where the chainsaw was tucked up inside, ready to drop down and cut the tree. Nearby, grinders are placed to take care of stripping off the branches.

Loader poised to load logs onto logging trucks.
The third piece of equipment we came upon was a loader. After the yarder brought the logs up to the landing next to the logging road, the loader got it stacked and ready for the logging truck to take it down to the log dump at Clover Dock.

It would have been interesting to see it all in action, but we would have been in the way I'm sure. -- Margy


  1. I know that logging is necessary, but at the same time it makes me somewhat sad to see the naked hills and think of the trees that were once thriving there.
    Nevertheless, you've done a great job of capturing this photographically. Hope you'll come by and shre at

    1. Fortunately trees are renewable, and this logging company does a good job of that. - Margy

  2. It is good that the forestry industry goes out of their way to educate the public. Often the loudest opponents don't know the full story.
    And I agree, it would have been awesome to see these machines at work!

    1. I guess that's the way opponents to many issues operate. - Margy

  3. Very interesting information and great photos.

    1. Thanks JoAnn. You probably saw a lot of logging in Alaska. - Margy