feet, and one of the best Davis raft men to ever work on the Pacific coast. To the best of my knowledge, he is still pushing logs around the Minstrel Island area, and I’ll bet his booms, like always, are the best.
....It was the toughest of work, that Davis raft building. Heavy wire cables were pulled and placed amongst the bottom sections of logs until they were laced securely to-gether. The logs were big, the lines were heavy, the weather could be foul and it was not a place for dewy-eyed boys with anything else on their minds except damn hard work. I have known of too many boommen with arthritis and rheumatism caused by the years of being exposed to the wet and cold conditions of boom work. Nowhere in the forest industry have I known of men who worked in the steady uncomfortable conditions in their daily routine as have the boommen, especially of bygone days.
....So here’s to you Moses Dean, and Johnny Higgins, and all you other beauties who walked the boomsticks of this coast. You represent a very special type of man, that this industry can look on with appreciation and thanks. Those big blue butts would never have moved to the markets without your ingenuity, your stamina and your plain ornery oblivion to the tough conditions you worked under. The people of this forest around us have all gained by you being a part of us – a big part.
........Keep out of the bight,

The salt water logger
- the boomman -

....They have glorified the high rigger in songs and stories. They have told of the steel-nerved log truck drivers and cat operators bringing loads down impossible mountain sides. Even the whistle punk, that mem-orable name from past logging days has had his moments of glory in print. But to my knowledge they forgot about a man who has stood as high as any in the deeds of daring-do and survival in this forest around us.
....I speak of the boomman – the pike-poled, weather-beaten faced man who built the Davis rafts, stowed the billions of board feet of logs into log booms, and always stood out on the windy end of things to play his part in this coastal forest industry.
....The booming grounds today on our B.C. coast cannot really be compared with the log ponds of a few years back – powerful little dozer boats, and sidewinders and pushers of all types have moved in to change the pike pole and peavey era of years ago. Most log dumps today are the lift-off variety, whereby the entire truck load is strapped, lifted and set down into the water with a minimum of jackpots. The log barges, monsters that carry loads of up to five million board feet of logs have eliminated the Davis raft, Oregon raft, and the long hazardous tows of log booms in stormy waters.
....So what about those salt water sprayed boommen that were the shepherds of the booming grounds. What was their claim to fame? Well, they were a breed of their own. They were most often not big men – they were generally loners that lived their working day on the end of a lonely boom, stowing, pushing, or straightening out the drifting logs into tight tiers of log booms. They used hand winches to cinch up the tiers, and the work called for a day of muscle and ingenuity.
....I remember Moses Dean, a quiet man who spent his days on the boom


cussing every log he pushed with his pike pole and just waiting to snap the head off some helper who came near him.
....Moses was a down easter from the Atlantic coast. He had worked his way across the continent on river drives until he hit Vancouver in the early twenties. His town clothes were the same as his daily work clothes – a pair of bone-dry pants and a bone dry coat topped by an old felt hat.
....Like most boommen of the era, he never wore a lifebelt and did not know how to swim. He had little patience for greenhorns, knew what he had to do, and was behoven of no boss. He had worked many a camp on the coast and would quit at the drop of a hat if he felt so inclined. But he could boom logs, this cranky man, and the outfit that had him knew that their booming grounds were in the best of hands.
....Boom work in those days required a steady, hustling type of man who hardly stopped all day even to roll a cigarette. Many of them chewed tobacco or Copenhagen because of the difficulty of rolling or lighting a smoke with their continually wet hands. They fought the winds and tides year round, and I remember many of them who talked to the logs as if they were humans.
....When the logs came to the water too fast for them, they would stand out on the windy, lonely booming grounds and curse the soul of the woods boss for overloading them with logs. If the logs didn’t come fast enough, they cursed the woods crew for being lazy.
....Even the pike poles were different in those days. Not the light 12 or 14 foot type that are now used – but a heavy wooden pole of ash or maple. And woe betide the new man who picked up the head boomman’s pike pole. No greater injustice could be done than to grab someone else’s pike pole!
....Another colourful man of those by-gone booming days was Johnny Higgins
- a man with one eye who saw more than most men do with two eyes. Johnny was a slight fellow, quick on his

British Columbia Lumberman, March, 1972