The Lost Art of Floating Logs

It was a center jam—a potential man killer. Huge 16-foot saw logs, weighing up to 2,000 pounds, crunched against one another like shoestring potatoes in a crazy man’s skillet. Logs were jammed up for half a mile back.

The river boss was all over the place, trying to find the key log. When he spotted it, a dozen men set their peavey hooks into it and strained. No go. Then the river boss ordered a charge of dynamite. “Whoomp!” went the explosion and a white plume of water shot skyward. That did it. “She’s a-pullin’!” went up the cry.

That’s a log drive—one of the most spectacular and action-packed features of America’s annual timber harvest that reaches a total of 35 billion feet a year.

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This feature originally appears in the May 1949 issue of Popular Mechanics.