Peeling Back The Bark

  • Life and Lunch: Alfred Eisenstaedt’s Weyerhaeuser Timber Crew Photographs

    By Eben Lehman on February 9, 2024

    In December 1954, Life magazine photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt journeyed into the woods near Snoqualmie Falls, Washington, for an unusual assignment. His subjects were a Weyerhaeuser Timber Company logging crew. But instead of photographing them felling trees, the men would appear …

  • The Great Northwest Log Haul of 1988

    By Eben Lehman on May 13, 2021

    On May 13, 1988, a convoy of trucks more than 12 miles long rolled down U.S. Highway 93 in Montana. Onlookers gawked and cheered as over 300 trucks fully loaded down with logs passed by one by one. This impressive …

  • The Monongahela at 100: How Its Signature Event Changed American Forestry

    By Guest Contributor on April 30, 2020

    The Monongahela National Forest was established on April 28, 1920. Historian Char Miller has adapted a chapter from the book America’s Great National Forests, Wilderness & Grasslands, with photographs by Tim Palmer (Rizzoli, 2016), to mark the centennial. 

    The …

  • In the Wake of the Ottumwa Belle: From Crisis to Conservation

    By Guest Contributor on August 13, 2015

    On the 100th anniversary of the last log raft floated on the Upper Mississippi River, scholar and Aldo Leopold biographer Curt Meine reflects upon conservation efforts over the last century and the challenges that lay ahead.

    This summer marks an …

  • 7/31/1865: Austin Cary, the Father of Southern Forestry, Born

    By James Lewis on July 31, 2015

    Austin Cary, one of the great unsung heroes of American forestry, was born this date in 1865 in East Machias, Maine. A Yankee through and through, he found professional success in the South, eventually becoming known as the "Father of …

  • Mason County Forest Festival Rolls On

    By Eben Lehman on May 31, 2013

    A parade, a pageant, and Paul Bunyan. These may not be the first three things that come to mind when you think about fire prevention, but residents of Mason County, Washington, back in 1945 had their own unique ideas. To …

  • "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial" released 30 years ago today. Where’s the sequel?

    By James Lewis on June 11, 2012

    Today marks the 30th anniversary of the release of “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial,” Steven Spielberg’s beloved film about an alien visitor who befriends a young boy; it’s also the film that gave us the catch phrase “Phone home.” As faithful readers …

  • From Aerologger to "Balloondoggle"

    By Eben Lehman on April 29, 2011

    “Recent experiments conducted in the woods of the Great Upper Lumber Company of Scandinavia have demonstrated the permanency of the Aerologger for use in the lumbering operations of this and other planets.”

    So read the opening sentence of a 1913 …

  • Back to the Future, Part IV: “Where we’re logging, we don’t need roads”

    By James Lewis on October 22, 2010

    The 25th anniversary of the iconic film franchise Back to the Future and the Blu-ray release of the trilogy on October 26 got us thinking about what forestry and logging were supposed to look like today as predicted by the …

  • Tongass National Forest Celebrates Another Anniversary

    By James Lewis on September 10, 2010

    On September 10, 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt established the Tongass National Forest in southeastern Alaska. This month, the Forest History Society is publishing a history of the region, Tongass Timber: A History of Logging and Timber Utilization in Southeast Alaska

  • Trucks, Tractors, and Swindle Sticks

    By Eben Lehman on December 2, 2009

    Three new photo galleries added to our website today contain more than 250 historic photos illustrating aspects of logging over the past century.  The first gallery, Logging–Scaling, documents the work of scalers in the woods.  A scaler was the …

  • How Turkeys Changed Forest History

    By James Lewis on November 25, 2009

    In the spirit of Thanksgiving and large-scale turkey consumption, we wish to acknowledge the impact of turkeys on forest history. How did a couple of turkeys change history? Well, a better question might be: How did a handful of angry …

  • The Fall of Timber Sports?

    By Eben Lehman on July 29, 2009

    This past weekend saw the Lumberjack World Championships take place in Hayward, Wisconsin.  The annual event of sawing, chopping, climbing, and log rolling contests celebrated its 50th anniversary this year.  While the golden anniversary is cause for celebration, signs of …

  • Birling Down White Water

    By Amanda T. Ross on June 11, 2009

    Prior to the expansion of railroads and later use of trucks, the logging industry relied on river currents to move large amounts of cut timber to sawmills. In October, we highlighted six photo galleries related to various aspects of river …

  • Bucking, Limbing, and Felling

    By Eben Lehman on May 13, 2009

    The six new photo galleries added to our website today feature well over 200 historic photos further documenting the work of loggers in the field.  The first four new galleries relate to the bucking and limbing of cut timber, the …

  • Pancakes and Pastimes

    By Eben Lehman on February 26, 2009

    The four new photo galleries added to our website today provide a unique look into various aspects of the lives of loggers outside of the forest work environment.  These new online galleries, containing nearly 150 historic photos, feature subjects such …

  • Lights! Camera! YouTube!

    By Eben Lehman on February 18, 2009

    As part of our ongoing efforts in using new technologies to provide online access to materials in our library and archives, the Forest History Society is pleased to announce the launch of its own YouTube Channel.

    YouTube, the leading …

  • Driving the River

    By Eben Lehman on October 24, 2008

    Six brand new photo galleries featuring more than 160 historic photos documenting various aspects of river log drives were added to our website today.  River drives were a standard way of moving large amounts of cut timber to sawmills during …

  • China's Syndrome

    By James Lewis on October 8, 2008

    A recent article in The New Yorker investigated where China gets its wood from now that logging has been widely banned in the country.  “The Stolen Forests: Inside the Covert War on Illegal Logging” states that the ban …

  • For the Ladies…

    By Amanda T. Ross on October 8, 2008

    Photographs from the Forest History Society collections have been used for a great variety of purposes, from scholarly publications to popular documentaries to home decor.

    Perhaps we have the beginnings of a Men of Logging calendar?

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