Letter to EcoNews: Chainsaws from the past-still echo in my head


Dave Van de Mark’s piece on Redwood National Park brought back memories of my old summer job with USGS in summer 1974, which Bob Ziemer made happen. I was an art major at HSU at the time. We commuted to Redwood Creek watershed from the Eureka office collecting feeder stream water samples for the Janda survey. It was a time when the loggers were cutting as much of the watershed as they could, as they had a timeline. If they could get the trees down on the ground by a certain date they could keep them and haul them away later. We had the keys to all the back gates and timber roads and were hated by those loggers who saw us as THE GOVERNMENT in our grey USGS truck. We were not liked in Orick. Of course two long-haired hippie types hiking around with packs full of sampling gear did not help.

Mid-summer we met at the Tall Trees Grove water access road with a D8 operator and loaded a cable car and lots of cable and equipment on that D8 and he took us up river through Redwood Creek to Bridges Creek right through the streambed. He then drove up Bridges a bit to a massive logjam where we unloaded all the heavy gear. We rigged a cable car across Bridges Creek to collect water samples at high water time in winter. We rode that D8 back down Redwood Creek but first we tied lots of downed limbs behind the tractor so the tracks were covered up a bit with the dragging limbs. Leave no tracks so-to-speak.

That summer was a mix of feelings, from the sheer terror as the Earth shook, hearing and feeling old-growth trees fall near us, to the joy of seeing black bears with cubs around Bridges Creek drainage and small fish in the feeder creeks and streams.

I loved that job.

 Mark Cortright

Liscom Hill Pottery