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Boom: Logging begins anew
Published December 19, 2004
Loaded log trucks headed to mills near and far ...
The sound of ringing
cash registers ...
The industry that
created the side-by-side communities of Gilchrist
and Crescent and kept the region content for decades
is undergoing a revival. Logging companies are
scurrying to harvest timberland damaged by the 2003
Four salvage sales are
removing about 48 million board feet of lodgepole
and ponderosa pine, white and Douglas fir, sugar
pine and other tree species. Two more salvage sales,
for another 25 million board feet, go up for bid in
The boom is running
late into the year, and snow, rain and fog have
occasionally stalled operations. Once the inevitable
serious snows fall, a snowpack in excess of 4 feet
will end logging until next spring.
Requirements vary, but
at least 15 percent of the standing timber must be
left, with anywhere from five to 12 snags per acre.
No trees with a diameter greater than 36 inches can
be cut. Trees with any green needles, even if they
are dying, cannot be harvested.
"We're getting really
nice results on the ground," says Crescent District
Ranger Phil Cruz. "The crews are doing excellent
Fitzer said the trees
are steadily decaying. "Next year would be the last
year we feel we could get any (economic) value from
it," she said.
Among the mills
converting fire-scarred trees to lumber is Interfor
Pacific, the new owner of the former Crown-Pacific
mill in Gilchrist.
outbidding others for two sales. Because of the
short distance to its two logging sales, Interfor is
receiving about 100 loads, or 550,000 to 570,000
board feet, daily. Along with providing jobs at the
Gilchrist mill, which operates two shifts a day and
has 150 employees, Ernst believes the four sales are
helping the local economy.
Brian Koch, owner of
the Mohawk Restaurant in Crescent, agrees.
"These guys are staying
weeks at a time," said Patricia Evinger, who owns
and operates the eight-room Crescent Motel with her
husband, Elmer. "For recreation they just kind of
hang out. They work from dawn to dusk, so they're
pretty tired. And pretty dirty."
Gilchrist and Crescent business owners said the
sales have had little effect, Crescent RV Park owner
Georgie Bonner said the business is at its capacity.
Dan Tommila, a logger
for Croman Corp., is among the crews at Bonner's RV
park. His 28-foot-long trailer is parked alongside
rigs owned by other crew members. To save on
expenses, he and three others car-pool. He's usually
up about 5:30 a.m. and ready to begin work at
daybreak. Fallers work for seven hours, quitting at
After work he does his
"homework" - sharpening saw blades, refilling gas
containers and drying his boots. He and the other
loggers hang around or drive to grocery stores in La
Pine and "look for the cheapest fuel."
Cash registers are ringing, pickups are filled with loggers and their gear, log trucks are emerging from the woods stacked with logs. Until it goes bust, logging is booming in the woods and communities of northern Klamath County.
Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM Pacific
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