The Lakehead
— and loggers

....They say that Thunder Bay is one of the brightest and sunniest cities in Canada and from what I saw of it in early May, I would have to agree. I was asked to join some old friends in that nice city for the annual convention of the Ontario Forest Products Ac-cident Prevention Association. Dick Ewalt is their president, and the hos-pitality laid on by Dick, his directors and staff was real Eastern Hospitality Plus for a salt water logger like myself from the inlets of B.C.
....As a westerner I had always considered Thunder Bay as being foremost in grain handling, but did not realize that its largest industry is the manufacture of wood into paper, pulp, ties and poles. Four large pulp mills employ almost 5,000 men, and the Great Lakes Paper Co. has one of the largest newsprint machines in the world. Local lumber companies produce over 60 million board feet of lumber and timbers annually. One processor alone preserves 70,000 poles and railway ties a year.
....It is truly a very important part of the forest around us in Canada, this delightful city on the western reaches of Lake Superior. I met there with loggers and millmen from all parts of Ontario who are concerned with the accidents and fatalities that plague our country’s forest industry. The people that were my hosts employ one of the finest teams of accident prevention staff it has been my pleasure to associate with. Jim Nugent is the general manager of a group of twelve with-it safety supervisors, that have nine forested areas of Ontario to look after. They conduct various training courses in power-saws, skidder oper-ations, felling techniques and proper job instructions – out in the camps, and it was easy to see the respect these dedicated men received from the convention delegates.
....Like all men working in the field of safety they know well the frustrations,
the let-downs, the lip-service and the reality of their jobs. So, to Jim Nugent, Earl Craig, Toe Ketonen, Louis Rous-sin and the rest of the F.P.A.P.A. – a tip of the hard hat to you gentlemen from the shores of the Pacific. And thank you for showing me so much of your forest around you.
....Mahogany railroad ties! Now I’ve seen a lot of pretty ‘Fancy Dan’ wood products in my wanderings – but to see Mahogany railroad ties – stacked around a mill yard, just taking the air, was a new one. They were part of the inventory of the Northern Wood Pre-servers Co. which is a division of Abitibi. I met Mike Dey, their woods superintendent and discovered he is a great enthusiast of loggers sports. It seems the group of forest companies and work force in this vast Thunder Bay-Drydon-Fort Francis area are really coming into their own with loggers sports. They are always interested in news of our activities in the contests in B.C.—and I would say that it won’t be too long before an east-west loggers sports will develop.
Jube Wickheim will be taking care of the second Loggers Show at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto this August, and a special competition has been set aside for Ontario loggers to compete amongst themselves for some pretty fair prize money. Let’s hope for a good turnout at Toronto from our eastern loggers.
....Marcel Bois and his two sons will certainly be down to Toronto for the Ontario competitions. Marcel has his own contract logging firm and is one of loggers sports great boosters in the east. Come on Marcel – get that power-saw warmed up!
....I spent an interesting conversation with John Macsentuck, foreman of Great West Timber Co. on the shoreline of Thunder Bay. John talked of the tree harvesters and giant transporters that roam the woods dry spot of sorts to sit and eat their today
British Columbia Lumberman, July, 1975

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and he harkened back to the horse logging of not so long ago. We agreed that the problems of this Thunder Bay area are just about the same as elsewhere in Canada’s forest land – lack of skilled loggers and mechanics, too many accidents, worries about the cost of living and of course – in early May – who will win the Stanley Cup. This is hockey country.
....Flying in to Thunder Bay from Dryden, one is struck by the similarity of the forested area with the forests of Finland. Mile after mile of undulating ground with thousands of small lakes scattered throughout. Jack pine and Black spruce predominate this area. It is reasonable to understand why this land was so attractive to the Finlanders who migrated to the Lake-head years ago. They must have felt right at home. Finnish, French and English are the predominant languages of the area.
....Confederation College in Thunder Bay has a logging training program in felling and skidding. Recently the instructors there were very impressed with one student – Lynda Spence. They were impressed with her adapt-ability to this type of work and claim that she picked up the operation of a skidder faster than most of the male students. It is always satisfying to know that more and more logging schools are now open to young people – to enable them to learn proper procedure – safety – and maintenance of equipment. Little wonder our indus-try has such a bad history of accidents and fatals – when the only way to learn to be a logger was in the school of hard knocks and falls in the bush.
....I would be remiss in writing of this visit without mentioning the positive attitude I found at this Ontario group of loggers and millmen toward the subject of safety. Delegates came from all over Ontario – from small firms to the big names such as Abitibi, Weldwood, Eddy, MacMillan Bloedel and Weyher-haeuser. The topics discussed were very gut issues of responsibility, delegation, and involve-ment of top management. I’m sure everyone came away with the feeling that the Ontario Forest Products Acci-dent Prevention Association’s annual gathering had been very worth-while.
....I noticed the name Weyherhaeuser on many of the various annual awards, and I had the pleasure of meeting a man from that company that I am sure deserved a great deal of credit for seeing to it that his company kept that position up year after year. Lincon Dunstone was his name and a more

understanding and dedicated man to safety would be difficult to find. Lincon lives in Sault St. Marie and his com-pany’s hardwood lumber and veneer plant has an enviable record in safety achievement.
....I had some most interesting discus-sions with Lincon Dunstone, on the subject of safety, working people, managers, and living, and this soon-to-retire gentleman spoke plain sensible words on all these subjects. We could use many more Mr. Dunstones in our fight to reduce the heavy cost of accidents and lives in this forest industry.
....I believe Lincon will retire from a very active life in our industry in the near future – and I’ll bet those roses in his garden in “The Soo” will get the same kind of understanding he has

always shown to people.
A thought occurred as I left this very fine area of Forested Canada. If our peace time army lost a hundred lives a year, as our forest industry does, I’ll bet there would be hell to pay in the high command. It’s a thought for all top management in this industry to contemplate. Maybe a few generals aren’t pulling their weight the way they should.
....Thank you Ontario for another interesting view of your forest aro0und you. And good night Earl – wherever you are.

Keep out of the bight,


British Columbia Lumberman, July, 1975