The Emmy-nominated Wisconsin Public Television program Wisconsin Life recently featured a fifth-generation logger from Springbrook – along the Namekagon – who still uses horses to this day to haul his logs out of the woods.
“It’s not just nostalgic, it makes sense for a lot of people to do it this way.”
Watch the segment at the bottom of this post.
Horse logging on the other side of the St. Croix River was also profiled in the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ magazine Conservation Volunteer in 2009. The article featured a horse-logging operation at historic Arcola Mills, on the river just north of Stillwater.
“Beneath a cloudless February sky, an invisible current laces and unlaces the fingerlike branches of hardwood canopy. Above the drone of traffic that winds along Highway 95 in the St. Croix River valley, a muted metallic clank rings out as Patrick, a Belgian draft horse, rattles his traces. Like a sprinter at the blocks, Kyle, the horse next to him, stares intently ahead and waits for the signal to skid another heavy oak log from the woods.” Continue reading (PDF)…
Logging in the St. Croix River region — its significant history and continuing importance — is one of the key parts of our interconnected heritage. From the Feasibility Study (page 47):
“Logging never stopped in the region. It continues as an important industry to this day. However, its eco- nomic and political dominance waned when the white pine was gone. Harvesting shifted to hardwoods and less valuable pines. Since these did not float, the river was no longer critical to the industry. Even- tually, the impact of the lumber boom’s exploitation would be fully appreciated by residents, government, and the industry itself, and sustainable practices would ensure the longevity of both the environment and the logging industry.”
The region is still home to large logging companies. FutureWood in Hayward is one. On its website, the company describes its modern approach to lumbering: “Like all FutureWood customers, when we look at a forest or woodland we see more than trees. We see wildlife, scenic beauty, economic value, and an incredibly complex ecosystem. We help landowners define their goals and then we develop and implement a science-based sustainable management plan to help them reach those goals in harmony with the needs of the environment.”
Wisconsin Life video:
Via the Sawyer County Record.