Large Scale Logging 1940s
The use of the internal combustion engine once again improved the efficiency and speed of harvesting trees east of the Cascades.
Diesel engines and gas tractors had many advantages over their older and larger steam equivalents. Steam engines took hours to prime before use, while diesel engines could be up and running in a short period of time. Steam tractors could haul extremely large loads, but their use was limited to graded roads and straight hauls. Because of this, horses were sometimes still needed to skid logs out of the forest and steeper slopes could not be logged. The smaller diesel and gas tractors had both power and maneuverability, allowing them to be used in places and ways that were not possible for a steam engine. The steep slopes were now open to mechanical power. Logging equipment, such as high wheels, were easily modified to work with the new tractors. This allowed the smaller combustion tractors, like the gas CAT 30, to haul logs quickly out of the forest. Eventually high wheels were replaced by sturdier logging arches and gas CAT 30’s and 60’s were replaced by larger and more versatile diesel tractors, but the trend of increased efficiency and production was continued.
The use of the combustion engine also allowed another increase in efficiency of log and lumber distribution. The harvesting of trees gradually took place on less accessible land and farther away from local sawmills. This was an increasing problem. Logging trucks became the solution to this problem. This major advance, along with others, allowed fewer men to harvest more trees in a shorter period of time.
Today machines like the Beloit Tree Harvester (which can be seen in the museum) could de-limb, de-bark, and fell a tree, all in a matter of minutes. This machine could harvest up to 400 trees a day. Now helicopters are used to scout out and identify areas to be logged.The purpose of Collier Memorial State Park Logging Museum is to
represent and interpret all of this colorful and adventure-filled history. Come and visit the Museum and get a better understanding about the story of the people and the industry which had such a great impact on this region.