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Log driving is a means of moving logs (sawn tree trunks) from a forest to sawmills and pulp mills downstream using the current of a river. It was the main transportation method of the early logging industry in Europe and North America.
When the first sawmills were established, they were usually small water powered facilities located near the source of timber, which might be converted to grist mills after farming became established when the forests had been cleared. Later, bigger circular sawmills were developed in the lower reaches of a river, with the logs floated down to them by log drivers.In the broader, slower stretches of a river, the logs might be bound together into timber rafts. In the smaller, wilder stretches of a river, rafts couldn't get through, so masses of individual logs were driven down the river like huge herds of cattle. "Log floating" in Sweden (timmerflottning) had begun by the 16th century, and 17th century in Finland (tukinuitto). The total length of timber-floating routes in Finland was 40,000km.
The log drive was one step in a larger process of lumber-making in remote places. In a location with snowy winters, the yearly process typically began in autumn when a small team of men hauled tools upstream into the timbered area, chopped out a clearing, and constructed crude buildings for a logging camp. 5-metre (16 ft) lengths, and hauling the logs with oxen or horses over iced trails to the riverbank. There the logs were decked onto "rollways." In spring when snow thawed and water levels rose, the logs were rolled into the river, and the drive commenced.In the winter when things froze, a larger crew moved into the camp and proceeded to cut trees, cutting the trunks into
To ensure that logs drifted freely along the river, men called "log drivers" or "river pigs" were needed to guide the logs. The drivers typically divided into two groups. The more experienced and nimble men comprised the "jam" crew or "beat" crew. They watched the spots where logs were likely to jam, and when a jam started, tried to get to it quickly and dislodge the key logs before many logs stacked up. If they didn't, the river would keep piling on more logs, forming a partial dam which could raise the water level.Millions of board feet of lumber could back up for miles upriver, requiring weeks to break up, with some timber lost if it was shoved far enough into the shallows. When the jam crew saw a jam begin, they rushed to it and tried to break it up, using peaveys and possibly dynamite. This job required some understanding of physics, strong muscles, and extreme agility. The jam crew was an exceedingly dangerous occupation, with the drivers standing on the moving logs and running from one to another. Many drivers lost their lives by falling and being crushed by the logs.
Each crew was accompanied by an experienced boss often selected for his fighting skills to control the strong and reckless men of his team. The overall drive was controlled by the "walking boss" who moved from place to place to coordinate the various teams to keep logs moving past problem spots. Stalling a drive near a saloon often created a cascade of drunken personnel problems.
A larger group of less experienced men brought up the rear, pushing along the straggler logs that were stuck on the banks and in trees. They spent more time wading in icy water than balancing on moving logs. They were called the "rear crew." Other men worked with them from the bank, pushing logs away with pike poles. Others worked with horses and oxen to pull in the logs that had strayed furthest out into the flats.
Bateaux ferried log drivers using pike poles to dislodge stranded logs while maneuvering with the log drive.A wannigan was a kitchen built on a raft which followed the drivers down the river. The wannigan served four meals a day to fuel the men working in cold water. It also provided tents and blankets for the night if no better accommodations were available. A commissary wagon carrying clothing, plug tobacco and patent medicines for purchase by the log drivers was also called a wangan. The logging company wangan train, called a Mary Anne, was a caravan of wagons pulled by four- or six-horse teams where roads followed the river to transport the tents, blankets, food, stoves, and tools needed by the log drivers.
For log drives, the ideal river would have been straight and uniform, with sharp banks and a predictable flow of water. Wild rivers were not that, so men cut away the fallen trees that would snag logs, dynamited troublesome rocks, and built up the banks in places. To control the flow of water, they built "flash dams" or "driving dams" on smaller streams, so they could release water to push the logs down when they wanted.
Each timber firm had its own mark which was placed on the logs, called an "end mark". Obliterating or altering a timber mark was a crime.At the mill the logs were captured by a log boom, and the logs were sorted for ownership before being sawn.
Log drives were often in conflict with navigation, as logs would sometimes fill the entire river and make boat travel dangerous or impossible.
Floating logs down a river worked well for the most desirable pine timber, because it floated well. But hardwoods were more dense, and weren't buoyant enough to be easily driven, and some pines weren't near drivable streams. Log driving became increasingly unnecessary with the development of railroads and the use of trucks on logging roads. However, the practice survived in some remote locations where such infrastructure did not exist. Most log driving in the US and Canada ended with changes in environmental legislation in the 1970s. Some places, like the Catalan Pyrenees, still retain the practice as a popular holiday celebration once a year.
In Sweden legal exemptions for log driving were eliminated in 1983. "The last float in southern Sweden was in the 1960s, with the floating era in the rest of the country ending completely with the last of the many log drives in the Klarälven river in 1991."
Lumberjacks are mostly North American workers in the logging industry who perform the initial harvesting and transport of trees for ultimate processing into forest products. The term usually refers to loggers in the era when trees were felled using hand tools and dragged by oxen to rivers. The work was difficult, dangerous, intermittent, low-paying, and involved living in primitive conditions. However, the men built a traditional culture that celebrated strength, masculinity, confrontation with danger, and resistance to modernization.
Lake Holcombe is a town in Chippewa County in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. Its population was 1,031 at the 2010 census. The census-designated place of Holcombe is located in the town.
The Jump River is a small rocky river in north-central Wisconsin. In the late 19th century it was used to drive logs down to the Chippewa River. Today it is recreational, rambling through woods and farmlands, used mostly by fishermen and paddlers.
The Chippewa River in Wisconsin flows approximately 183 miles (294 km) through west-central and northwestern Wisconsin. It was once navigable for approximately 50 miles (80 km) of its length, from the Mississippi River, by Durand, northeast to Eau Claire. Its catchment defines a portion of the northern boundary of the Driftless Area. The river is easily accessible for bikers and pleasure seekers via the Chippewa River State Trail which follows the river from Eau Claire to Durand.
The Yellow River in north central Wisconsin is a tributary of the Chippewa River. For the most part it is a mud and rock-bottomed river flowing through forest and farmland. It is one of four distinct rivers in the state bearing the name Yellow River.
Timber rafting is a method of transporting felled tree trunks by tying them together to make rafts, which are then drifted or pulled downriver, or across a lake or other body of water. It is arguably, after log driving, the second cheapest means of transporting felled timber. Both methods may be referred to as timber floating.
A log boom is a barrier placed in a river, designed to collect and or contain floating logs timbered from nearby forests sometimes called a fence or bag. The term is also used as a place where logs were collected into booms, as at the mouth of a river. With several firms driving on the same stream, it was necessary to direct the logs to their owner's respective booms, with each log identified by its own patented timber mark. One of the most well known logbooms was in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, along the Susquehanna River. The development and completion of that specific log boom in 1851 made Williamsport the "Lumber Capital of the World".
The St. Croix Boom Site is a historic and scenic wayside on the St. Croix River in Stillwater Township, Minnesota, United States. It commemorates the location of a critical log boom where, from 1856 to 1914, timber from upriver was sorted and stored before being dispatched to sawmills downstream. The site was developed as a roadside park along Minnesota State Highway 95 in the 1930s. In 1966 it was designated a National Historic Landmark for its national significance in the theme of industry. It was nominated for being the earliest, most important, and longest serving of the log storage and handling operations that supported Minnesota's major logging industry. Virtually no traces remain of the site's original buildings and structures.
The Susquehanna Boom was a system of cribs and chained logs in the West Branch Susquehanna River, designed to catch and hold floating timber until it could be processed at one of the nearly 60 sawmills along the river between Lycoming and Loyalsock Creeks in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania in the United States. The Susquehanna Boom was originally built under the supervision of James H. Perkins, and operated from 1851 to 1909, when it shut down for lack of timber.
A splash dam was a temporary wooden dam used to raise the water level in streams to float logs downstream to sawmills. By impounding water and allowing it to be released on the log drive's schedule, these dams allowed many more logs to be brought to market than the natural flow of the creek allowed. Water releases from multiple splash dams on tributaries were also often combined to maximize the number of logs floated throughout a given watershed.
The Flambeau River is a tributary of the Chippewa River in northern Wisconsin, United States. The Chippewa is in turn a tributary of the upper Mississippi River. The Flambeau drains an area of 1,860 square miles (4,800 km2) and descends from an elevation of approximately 1,570 feet (480 m) to 1,060 feet (320 m) above sea level. The Flambeau is an important recreational destination in the region. It is notable among canoeists in the Midwest for outstanding canoe camping, including excellent scenery, fishing and whitewater. The river and its forks have a variety of possible trip lengths from short day outings, to overnight camping, to voyages of a week or more.
A log jam is a naturally occurring phenomenon characterized by a dense accumulation of tree trunks and pieces of large wood across a vast section of a river, stream, or lake. Log jams in rivers and streams often span the entirety of the water's surface from bank to bank. Log jams form when trees floating in the water become entangled with other trees floating in the water, or become snagged on rocks, large woody debris, or other objects anchored underwater. They can build up slowly over months or years, or they can happen instantaneously when large numbers of trees are swept into the water after natural disasters. A notable example caused by a natural disaster is the log jam that occurred in Spirit Lake following a landslide triggered by the eruption of Mount St. Helens. Until they are dismantled by natural causes or humans, log jams can grow exponentially as more wood arriving from upstream becomes entangled in the mass. Log jams can persist for many decades, as is the case with the log jam in Spirit Lake.
The Ise is a 43 km (27 mi) long, almost natural river of East Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It crosses the district of Gifhorn from north to south and discharges into the Aller at Gifhorn itself.
The Ottawa River timber trade, also known as the Ottawa Valley timber trade or Ottawa River lumber trade, was the nineteenth century production of wood products by Canada on areas of the Ottawa River destined for British and American markets. It was the major industry of the historical colonies of Upper Canada and Lower Canada and it created an entrepreneur known as a lumber baron. The trade in squared timber and later sawed lumber led to population growth and prosperity to communities in the Ottawa Valley, especially the city of Bytown. The product was chiefly red and white pine.The Ottawa River being conveniently located with access via the St. Lawrence River, was a valuable region due to its great pine forests surpassing any others nearby. The industry lasted until around 1900 as both markets and supplies decreased.
Morse is an unincorporated community located in the town of Gordon, Ashland County, Wisconsin, United States. Morse is located along the Bad River 7.5 miles (12.1 km) south-southeast of Mellen.
The Holt and Balcom Logging Camp No. 1 in Lakewood, Wisconsin was built around 1880 in what was then timber along McCaslin Brook. It is probably the oldest lumber camp in Wisconsin still standing in its original location, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
Holcombe Flowage is a reservoir on the Chippewa River in Chippewa County and Rusk County, Wisconsin. The dam stands between the towns of Birch Creek and Lake Holcombe, just west of the settlement of Holcombe, Wisconsin, in Chippewa County, where most of the reservoir lies. A small part of the reservoir also extends northward into the Town of Willard in Rusk County.
Grandfather Falls is the highest waterfall on the Wisconsin River. The total drop is 89 feet, spread out in a series of cascades over about one mile. The upper third of the falls and most of the flow, except in the spring, is diverted through a canal and a series of penstocks to feed hydroelectric generators. Grandfather Falls dam and power generating facility is owned and operated by Wisconsin Public Service Corporation.
This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Sawyer County, Wisconsin. It is intended to provide a comprehensive listing of entries in the National Register of Historic Places that are located in Sawyer County, Wisconsin. The locations of National Register properties for which the latitude and longitude coordinates are included below may be seen in a map.
In 1886, a log jam developed in the St. Croix River, close to Taylors Falls, Minnesota, and St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. It was described at the time by a local journalist as "the jammedest jam" he had encountered, and was very difficult to clear, with hundreds of men working for six weeks to clear it, eventually using steamboats and dynamite. The jam was also a major tourist attraction, with thousands of spectators every day.