Monday, May 4, 2015

The Lumberjack

Lumberjack Sawing Competition

Log Rolling Challenge
Using a Springboard
What should we do on our last day in Ketchikan, dear?  We have already seen the beautiful Totem Poles near Ketchikan on a previous trip.  How about a lumberjack show!  
Running the Logs
The cruise ships are in town and there will be a show for the tourists at 1pm, it could be fun.  Yes it is one of those tourist attractions; nevertheless, it is well done with lots of humor, antics, and good lumberjack skills. 
The Tree Topper
The show was set as a competition between two lumber camps; the audience was divided in two groups to cheer on their respective camp - the Spruce Camp or the Dawson Creek Camp.  Bucking, sawing, log rolling and climbing were among the lumberjack skills demonstrated during the show.  In the early days timber harvest in Southeast Alaska consisted of individual hand logging operations up until the 1950’s.  
The High Climbers
The work was difficult and dangerous; the men often lived a migratory life among the lumber camps.  The division of labor led to several specialized jobs like “chaser” and “high climber.”  The high climber or tree topper used iron climbing hooks and rope to ascend a tall tree.  After topping the tree, pulleys and rigging would be attached to the tree so it could be used as a spar (anchor point for cable logging).  The “chaser” removed the steel cables or chokers from the downed logs so they could be dragged into the landing by the “yarder.”  
The actual felling and bucking of trees were also specialized job positions.  The lumberjack culture was competitive and men earned special praise for their skills.  During WWII, spruce was in high demand and Ketchikan became a supply center for area logging.

The Lumberjacks

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