On the move
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.