On the move

Canada's History - - TRADING POST -

From lit­er­ally drag­ging the logs by hand to us­ing teams of oxen or work­horses, get­ting logs from for­est to mar­ket re­quired tremen­dous phys­i­cal ex­er­tion. That be­gan to change in 1882 with the in­ven­tion of the “steam don­key,” a steam-pow­ered ma­chine that hauled logs us­ing winches and steel ca­bles.

Foresters uti­lized skid roads, made of slick logs, to help trans­port logs from the for­est to a body of wa­ter, from where they were floated to mar­ket. As the in­dus­try grew more so­phis­ti­cated, new, spe­cial­ized jobs emerged. “High climbers” as­cended the for­est canopy to cut the tops of trees and re­move up­per branches in prepa­ra­tion for felling. Far be­low, fall­ers cut down the trees and then made way for buck­ers who shaped the logs. To­day, foresters use me­chan­i­cal skid­ders and heavy trans­port trucks to get logs to mar­ket.

Haul­ing logs in win­ter in Que­bec, circa 1930s.

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