The Last Years of the Log Drive-The View from Above.

There have been a few time I have been asked: “When did they stop driving logs down the Exploits River.”

The answer I usually give is the one that Roger Pike, the former public relations person with Abitibi gave me, which is 1991.

I was also told that the final “sack” (cleaning up of logs) was done in 1994, as there were still logs on the river and in various lakes even after they stopped moving them by water. The “Company” had started to move away from driving in the 1960’s, but the complete transition to trucking took a very long time!

The other day I was made aware of Google Earth Timelapse. I thought this was a cool idea and was looking forward to looking at it. Unfortunately the resolution is not great enough to see some of the things I was looking for. BUT it does give you a great view of the pulpwood on the Exploits River!

So here it is, the last years of pulpwood driving on the Exploits.


From this 1964 aerial photo you can see the booms, piers and log control structures at the Grand Falls mill and the area above. You can see the “new” Sandy Badger road on the south side of the river. A few years after this photo was taken most of the forest in the area was logged out for the second time. 
1984 the first year for Google Timelapse. The boom at the mill is full. You can also see the control boom that held back the logs at Wigwam Point near the golf course.
1987. When this picture was taken the upper holding boom was getting pretty full. 
1988 still running logs down the river. This year also marked the last year in which the railway operated so no wood was moved by rail after this point. 
1990. When this photo was taken the holding boom at Rushy Pond was full of logs. 
1991. The holding boom is pretty empty, but the boom at the mill has logs in it. 
1992, there is a fair amount of wood in the holding boom even though this was after the year given to me as the last for the drive. 
1993. There is a small amount of wood in the upper control boom, the one at the mill is pretty full. 
1994. The control boom at Rushy Pond is still there and there is some wood in the mill pond. The Salmon Ladder opened as a tourist attraction around this time. Log driving was detrimental to the growth of salmon populations. 
1995. The Control boom is gone altogether. There is wood in the mill pond, but at this point all wood was trucked to the mill. 
1996-All wood is being trucked to the mill. The new Sandy Badger Road is completed at least as far as Noel Paul Brook. 
1997, there appears to be no wood in the boom at all. After they stopped driving some wood was dumped in the mill pond to clean it as the wood that came in on the trucks was usually dirty and full of debris-a byproduct of mechanization. Within a few years the boom at the mill pond will be gone altogether. 

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