Christmas ’79. ....

by Bill Moore....


....It’s been my pleasure to write about a variety of subjects concerning the forests around us for nearly the past ten years in the B.C. Lumberman. I enjoy my memories and like to write of the old float camps and A-frames and the great characters of people from boomcats to high riggers to bullcooks.
....I have been able to write about safety and safe production and the dedicated people I have met, who daily try to find ways of decreasing our terrible toll of accidents and fatals in this forest industry. My only disappointment with the subject of safety is the apathy and amount of lip service from so many about the issues of safe production. This, however, is a feeling shared by many – who care – but they do not let that disappointment affect their know-ledge of what must be done to gain a safer industry.
....A subject close to me has been the encouragement of loggers’ sports programs across this land. I have watched this exciting sport in a multitude of places: Toronto’s C.N.E., B.C.’s Squamish, Finland, Montreal’s Place Ville Marie, and always, but always, the crowds of people were enthralled by the skills of the loggers. It never ceases to amaze me how fond the public is of loggers’ sports, and yet how little backing the big forest companies give the subject. It reflects the unfortunate separation and insulation of top management from the logger in the woods.
....I’ve been fortunate to travel to quite a few forested areas in Canada and spend some time with the people there, learning of their ways and their methods of production. We should never stop impressing on the public the vastness of Canada’s forests and the vitally important part it plays in Canada’s economy.
....The environmental problems our industry faces have always interested me. Millions of dollars are being spent to clean up emissions from mills, and undoubtedly many millions will still have to be spent. Living as I do on the very west coast of Vancouver Island, and just visualizing a huge oil tanker in trouble off our storm lashed shores, would make anyone shudder at the possible results. Is the madness of the tanker routes from Alaska going to be allowed to pass down our Canadian west coast? Surely our governments –


provincial and federal – will not allow our American neighbors to go ahead with this potentially disastrous plan.
....In some ways it seems that industries and governments in this world are hell bent on trying to kill our planet with such terrors as massive oil spills, acid rains and nuclear leaks. Is this really progress? And is it what we want our grandchildren to inherit? I, for one, am grateful that there are people willing to step forward and point to these insanities about us. That they have to use extreme measures is only a reflection of the times we have come through.

Oil tankers

raise fears

.... I like to write about the people who contribute to our forest livelihood. I have always found the people more interesting than the leviathan iron machines (of course with apologies to the Great Yellow Traktor Company!) The logger is, by his occupation, an ingenious chap. His daily work routine finds him in so many different situations that require new and sometimes unique answers. How do you handle a twelve foot diameter Sitka spruce log that is wedged in between two stumps? Answer – with your head as well as your muscle. And how do you drive a big log truck down a mountainous switchback road, with a side-heavy load? Answer – with all the grey cells working to capacity, plus all the legs and arms you can muster!
....It has always been fun to write about forest history. About the fine old steamships that plied our west coast, moving loggers to and from the camps. The names Maquinna, John, Catella, and Cardena will always bring a lump to my throat. And the mystique of a lost pulp mill town like Swanson Bay is as exciting to me as an Agatha Christie plot. I wrote once about the old movies that depicted the loggers as Paul Bunyans putting


out the Great forest Fire, or Dyna-miting the Log Jam, or Saving Fore-man’s Daughter – as everyday exploits. Must do some more research on that one.
....There is a part of the industry that I used to take to task but now find that I must compliment. And that is the labour-management contract field. Where once we could claim that both sides were playing World War III with bargaining table warfare, we now see that through intelligent and consistent hard work the two old antagonists solve their problems with a sensible approach possibly unequaled in Canada’s resource industries.
....The good editors, from time to time, have even let me write the odd “fable of the forest.” Now fables don’t really turn people on these days, nor are they the “in” thing. But nobody ever told me to stop so I wrote about plastic forests and time machines and outfits like the “Lovely Logging Co.” I reasoned that if children could under-stand fables then some grownups might even understand them too!
....I like logging and I like most loggers I have met in my life. It is always difficult to generalize, but I would say that the great majority of loggers are environmentalists who truly care for the land. Because they are personally involved in seeing the forests cleared and great areas of slash, they are the first to recognize that we must heal the wounds in Mother Earth and get a new forest growing immediately. A logger is a harvester of this planet’s great garden – her forests.
....So another year has rolled around and it is Christmas ’79. We in Canada and particularly in the west, should count our blessings. While riots and revolutions seem to be the order of the day in so many places, our biggest news attraction is the nonsense of politicians.
....I’d like to wish a Happy Christmas to some friendly loggers – The Potts Co., The Smith and Miller Log Co.’s – my friend Oszkar, Burke of the World and my friendly neighbour Fred. Oh, and yes – to all those great cookhouse cooks who are preparing Christmas pudding for the loggers –

.........................Keep out of the bight,
.........................................Bill Moore

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British Columbia Lumberman, December, 1979