....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.
.... 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
....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