prpeak photo - CMTFirst Nations people logged the area very selectively, taking only what they needed in a very sustainable way. Evidence of Culturally Modified Trees abound in Powell River, mainly strips taken for baskets etc, but also art. 

Klahoose article here


Nick Hudema cabin - last hand loggerAfter european contact, when the boom created by the completion of the Pacific Railway was over in 1887, the logs from convenient locations near Vancouver were taken, and a huge demand from back east emerged. In the 1880's and 90's, independent loggers migrated up the coast and cut the old growth that was typically a few hundred feet up to half a mile from shore. Distance depended on the quality of trees and ease of skidding or rolling them to the water. Steep slopes were easiest, but most dangerous, and led to erosion later. Nick Hudema got the last hand logger licence (PRMuseum story)


 oxen teamTeams of oxen pulled timber to the waters edge or rail lines up until the first world war. 

Seven pairs of oxen, called the Bull team, pulling two logs. The peevee on the log in the background is for rolling the log if it gets hung up on one of the cross logs.

You can see the Bull puncher carrying his 'goad', or sharp rod, to prod the bulls.

In the 1890's, Hastings Mill had an oxen logging show at Lang Bay, near Powell River.


Anderson Steam DonkeyBy then, Steam Donkeys connected with spar poles had usually replaced the teams of oxen.

Steam power was introduced to logging operations in the early 1900's in the form of a small steam donkey that replaced bull teams and horses.

Steam donkey engines created the steam that powered winches. They were used to yard and load large logs from the woods to the railway landing. Some were very big, with several steam engines and single large boilers on one set of timber skids.  

Steam also powered other logging equipment such as steam shovels for road construction and steam locomotives to haul the logs by rail.

In the 1930's, steam donkeys were replaced by gas/diesel-powered machines. By the 1950's, steam had disappeared from the forests.

skid roadsLogs were moved in the bush on greased-log skid roads.

Most skid roads had logs laid across the direction of travel.  This one has the logs parallel to the travel.




kew"The toothpick" - 237 feet (72.2 meters)

Cut out of the Stillwater area on June 22, 1918.

It was four feet (1.2 m) at the butt and 14 inches (35 cm) at the top.>

It was sent to Kew Gardens, England, and erected in 1919 to replace a similar "toothpick" sent to Kew gardens in the mid 1800s from a Bloedel site. A third pole was sent in the 1970's.

Logging crews were employees of Brooks, Scanlon & O'Brien Co.




Shingle Mill Powell Lake 1910The Shingle Mill on Powell Lake was operating in 1910.


The 1923 map "Powell Lake"   shows very effectively where the timber claims were in the Powell River area.
1923 map Powell Lake