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"Serving the International Forest Industry "

"By going to skyline logging, we are getting timber we would not have had access to using traditional methods," says Dean.  There are many types of cable logging, but the one used in Vavenby is called a standing skyline.  And it does operate a little like a chairlift at a ski hill.

Very simply, a motorized carriage moves up and down a main cable.  The logs are connected to the carriage that pulls them up the hill to a landing or a road.  This means there is no need for skidders or other heavy equipment which can cause soil damage on steep slopes.  From here, trucks take the logs to the mill.

Skyline logging is being used in the Mad River area because of the Total Resource Planning (TRP) process, profiled in the December, 95 issue of BC Life.  With TRP, engineers and foresters put together a plan for a large area, instead of just one cutting permit at a time.  This enables them to reduce the amount of roads needed to reach their cutblocks.

The planning process for the Mad River area took two years, but all that preliminary work is worth it because the logging ends up running more smoothly and we end up with a better product.

Stephen Aulerich is a forest engineer and a consultant with Forest Engineering Incorporated.  Last year he helped Vavenby Timberlands design the logging plan for the Mad River area and now he's back to conduct a training course for a local skyline logger.

Stephen credits Wes Bieber and the rest of the foresters in Vavenby for sticking to the long-term plan and keeping things running smoothly.

"People tend to focus on the logging operation and the equipment because they think that is what is making it all happen," says Stephen.  "They see the logs moving and they say, Golly, that's simple.  Really what is making it all work is the engineering and the field work that happened over the past several years to make the hillside as loggable as possible."

The advanced planning also gives us some security for the future.

"If the Ministry of Forests says you can only take every other tree because of visual concerns, the majority of the road system we've designed will allow Weyerhaeuser to do that safely and economically," Stephen says.  "It's planning the entire area forever."
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