Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Logging Upswing

We live near Powell River in Coastal BC and logging is a very important part of our economy. In fact, the availability of good timber and lots of water for hydroelectric power made it an attractive location for the the paper mill that was built here in the early 1900's. You can learn about the history of timber and logging in our Forestry Museum at Willingdon Beach.

The last several years have been difficult for forestry companies. There's the aftermath of the Canada vs. US softwood dispute, slowdown in new home construction, the recession and the high Canadian dollar for international trade. Up Powell Lake, much of the logging activity is conducted by Western Forest Products. From our cabin porch, we see them head up and down the lake with work boats and barges. I may not be awake at the early hour they go to work, but I can feel the wakes rock my cabin and the waves lap on the logs. That's much better than an alarm clock for sure.

Each year different tracts are logged. This makes a patchwork on the hills and allows for trees to grow back at different rates. In the late 1990's, the hills north of the Hole in the Wall were logged. Trees there are now about ten feet tall and everything is green. Then last fall we got a notice on our cabin door that they would be logging this spring near our cabin. A full parking lot at the Shinglemill told us the time had come.

Last month a large crew arrived and cut behind the cabins in the Hole and around the point towards the main lake. Because of the steep, rocky cliff behind us, our trees were spared. I know the rest will grow back in the years to come thanks to the hard work of tree planters and responsible logging companies. But at the same time, I'm glad mine still have a lease on life. -- Margy


  1. Dera, U live in an excellent area..close to the nature like me...
    Thanks to God.
    Nice shots...congrats
    Nice day to u and the family

  2. They are scary times, are they not? The only thing we can depend upon is change, but at what cost?

    At least they cycle the tracts.

    Take care.
    Thank you for visiting My Muskoka !

  3. My father-in-law was one of the managers at the Powell River Mill, which was then MacMillan Bloedel. And my whole family worked in the forestry industry in Port Alberni. It was a way of life that cannot be experienced anymore...Mac and Blo was a part of the family, it seemed. For many years, they were excellent employers and gave back to their communities a huge amount (ie. Rec centres and donations to charities and events).

    Once Mac and Blo sold out, things changed drastically...now it became just another large corporation. One did not feel the same connection.

    Trees in the Rain forest grow so quickly. A tract that has been logged takes only a few years before it is completely rejuvenated. But I am glad they left your trees for your enjoyment, Margie! Thanks for a great post...I was once an employee who travelled on those crew boats, as did most of my family, so it brought back many memories!

  4. Are there logs harvested by log cabin companies too? Or just for paper? I'm glad your trees will be spared.

  5. What an amazing life you have there! I've just discovered your blog and intend to catch up reading the back issues. By the way, my husband is an Oregon tree farmer so I definitely understand the logging issues.

  6. Thanks everyone for your comments.

    You are right Marion. The bill used to be the center of everything in Powell River. Now that it is owned and managed remotely (a US hedge fund right now) it isn't the same family and community oriented place. We know many people who have lived here all their lives and they tell us what it was like back then. Plus now there are so few employees it has become a smaller part of our economic base and support for events and charities.

    Shelly - most of the logs are used for the lumber industry. The paper mill actually imports its pulp from other mills. Some logs may end up with log cabin companies, but my guess is it is mostly turned into lumber for homes.


  7. Hi Margy, Thanks for becoming a follower of my blog, two liveaboards separated by the Atlantic Ocean! Seriously, I am glad I found your blog as I find your lifestyle fascinating. Look forward to keeping in touch x

  8. I am now a follower from the Great Canadian Link Exchange!



We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy