Subscribe Archives Calendar ContactTimberWestMadison's Lumber DirectoryAdvertiseMedia Kit LSJ Home Forestnet

 
Untitled Document

Logging and Sawmilling Journal March/April 2014

August/September 2014

On the Cover:
Greg Smith, Chief Operating Officer of Gilbert Smith Forest Products in Barriere, B.C.—and grandson of the founder of the family-run company—is proud of the resourcefulness the mill and its employees showed in carrying out a major mill upgrade on a tight budget (Photo by Paul MacDonald).

Landmark Alberta forestry agreement
A deal with Northern Alberta Métis that involves long-term commercial rights to 200,000 hectares of forestlands is said to be a landmark agreement and could be worth millions of dollars to the community, say its backers.

Resourceful mill upgrade
The Gilbert Smith Forest Products sawmill in the B.C. Interior has just wrapped up a multi-million dollar upgrade that included some new equipment, a lot of used equipment—and involved a whole lot of resourcefulness.

Tracking down energy savings at the mill
Weyerhaeuser’s Princeton, B.C. sawmill is seeing some big-time cost savings from a number of energy initiatives the mill has introduced over the last several years—and the operation is continuing to track down energy saving opportunities.

Cars made out of …Wood?
The BioComposites Group plant in Alberta is very close to bringing its unique product—wood fibre mat produced from refined SPF wood fibre—to industries such as auto manufacturing that are looking for greener materials, and cost savings.

Newfoundland’s
Northwest an award-winner

Newfoundland logging contractor Northwest Forest Resources—now run by the third generation of the Reid Family—recently added to their award hardware collection, being awarded the Canadian Woodlands Forum’s Contractor of the Year for 2014.

Old iron on the Internet
B.C.’s Todd Smith is on a mission to photograph and video old logging equipment—and he’s now sharing his work, and the rich history and heritage of B.C. logging, on the Internet at Youtube.

First Nations band gets into sawmilling
The Hupacasath First Nations band on Vancouver Island is now in the small sawmilling business, having purchased a portable Super Scragg sawmill from D & L Timber Technologies, and is looking at other opportunities in the forest industry, including getting involved in logging.

Ready for the upturn
With increasing demand for wood products, Nova Scotia’s Consolidated Forest Owners Resource Management stands ready to meet an increase in activity in the woods, with its high level harvesting and forest management services.

The Edge
Included in The Edge, Canada’s leading publication on research in the forest industry, are stories from Canadian Wood Fibre Centre, Alberta Innovates - Bio Solutions, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, Forest Innovation Investment (FII), NRCan and the Woodlands Operations Learning Foundation (WOLF).

The Last Word:
Court ruling a possible
game changer

The recent Supreme Court of Canada ruling in the Ts’ilhqot’in Nation vs. British Columbia case could be a game changer for the forest industry, says Jim Stirling.

DEPARTMENTS

Tech Update: Grinders

Suppliernewsline

 

 

 

 

 CLICK to download a pdf of this article

Trevor Reid (left), Chris Durew and Dave Reid, of Northwest Forest Resources.Newfoundland’s Northwest an award-winner

Employees of Northwest Forest Resources are celebrating the company’s 30th anniversary this year, and they have some nice new hardware to show for it, having been selected the Canadian Woodlands Forum Contractor of the Year for 2014. Left are Trevor Reid (left), Chris Durew and Dave Reid, of Northwest Forest Resources.

Newfoundland contractor Northwest Forest Resources—now run by the third generation of the Reid Family—recently added to their award hardware collection, being awarded the Canadian Woodlands Forum’s Contractor of the Year for 2014.

By George Fullerton

This year has marked a couple of significant milestones for Northwest Forest Resources. The Deer Lake, Newfoundland-based contractor celebrates 30 years since its founding—and it also celebrates being selected as Canadian Woodlands Forum (CWF) Contractor of the Year for 2014.

Northwest’s co-owners—and cousins—Craig and Trevor Reid received their award at the CWF Spring Meeting held in Moncton, New Brunswick in April. The Reid’s add the CWF award to some other award hardware: their 2013 Contractor of the Year award from their employer, Kruger Publication Paper, owner of Corner Brook Pulp and Paper.

In nominating Northwest Forest Resources for CWF Contractor of the Year, Tim Moulton, general operations superintendent with Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, noted that Northwest had very high achievement on their KPI (Key Performance Indicators) inspections evaluating safety, quality, production, environment controls, utilization and operating efficiency. In fact, Northwest Forest Resources was Corner Brook’s most improved contractor in terms of their KPI in 2012-2013.

The Northwest Forest Resources equipment team includes a good deal of Tigercat gear, especially on the harvesting side, with two 822’s with Log Max 7000 heads and three 845 machines with Log Max 7000 heads. In late-June, Northwest added a new Tigercat 845 with a Log Max head.The Northwest Forest Resources equipment team includes a good deal of Tigercat gear, especially on the harvesting side, with two 822’s with Log Max 7000 heads and three 845 machines with Log Max 7000 heads. In late-June, Northwest added a new Tigercat 845 with a Log Max head.

In 2013, Northwest had no reportable injuries in their Occupational Safety and Health Administration rating. They also passed all three Occupational Health and Safety inspections with an average score of 98 per cent, and a score of 98 per cent in all three Emergency Medical Service inspections.

Moulton noted Northwest consistently exceeds weekly Behavior Based Safety observation targets and has the participation of all their supervisors and operators in the program. The contractor was also recognized for having excellent relations with outside forest users including Western Snow Riders, and is actively involved in community support, achieving highest fund raising team in the Log a Load for Kids Hockey Tournament.

In addition to their remarkable achievements in safety and efficiency, Moulton said that on a personal note, “the Northwest crew are always a pleasure to work with”.

Canadian Woodlands Forum Executive Director Peter Robichaud congratulated Northwest on their award, saying that the Contractor of the Year award continues to be an important way for the forest industry to recognize a contracting business that has achieved exceptional performance in their work. The award, he said, recognizes contractors for their significant contribution to the industry and their vital place in the value chain.

Robichaud added that in an effort to streamline the contractor of the year award nomination process, CWF has developed new application requirements as well as a new candidate assessment process.

Northwest was established in 1984 by Eli Craig as a chainsaw contracting operation, and Eli brought his sons Guy, Doyle and Melvin into the business. Guy’s son Craig and Doyle’s son Trevor stepped into the management shoes around 2000, when the second generation owner/managers retired.

The business began the transition to mechanical harvesting in the mid-1990s. Initially, the mechanical harvesting consisted of a feller buncher, followed by processors and forwarders. In a short time, they decided it would be more practical to move to harvesters felling and processing at the stump, following with forwarders to get the wood to roadside.

Currently, Northwest contracts to produce 140,000 cubic metres (last year doing 143,000 cubic metres). In addition to providing pulpwood to the Kruger mill, Northwest also produces twelve foot saw logs to the Burton’s Cove sawmill in Hampden, Newfoundland. Their operations are generally within 80 kilometres of their Deer Lake headquarters. Currently Northwest’s saw log production constitutes between 10 to 25 per cent of their total harvest. Northwest employs thirty people in their operations.

The equipment team includes a good deal of Tigercat gear, especially on the harvester side, with two 822’s with 7000 Log Max heads, three 845 machines with 7000 Log Max heads, and a John Deere 753 with a Waratah 616 head. In late-June, Northwest added a new Tigercat 845 with Log Max head. The forwarding team consists of two John Deere 1510 units, and a Tigercat 1065.

“With the terrain we work in, we definitely need tracked harvesters,” said Craig. “We see a lot of steep ground and a fair bit of soft ground, and tracked harvesters are the answer. We also run two sets of tracks on the forwarders, year round.”

Craig added that they have excellent dealer support from both Wajax, who handle Tigercat from their Pasadena shop, and Nortrax, which provides John Deere sales and support from their Corner Brook store. “They both give us great parts and technical support.”

The forwarding team at Northwest Forest Resources consists of two John Deere 1510 units, and a Tigercat 1065 machine. Currently, Northwest contracts to produce 140,000 cubic metres of timber. In addition to providing pulpwood to the Kruger mill, Northwest also produces twelve foot saw logs to the Burton’s Cove sawmill in Hampden, Newfoundland.The forwarding team at Northwest Forest Resources consists of two John Deere 1510 units, and a Tigercat 1065 machine. Currently, Northwest contracts to produce 140,000 cubic metres of timber. In addition to providing pulpwood to the Kruger mill, Northwest also produces twelve foot saw logs to the Burton’s Cove sawmill in Hampden, Newfoundland.

Commenting about working with the big Log Max 7000 head for relatively small diameter wood (8”-12”), Craig explained: “We work in some pretty rough terrain and the heads face a lot of obstacles and challenging operating conditions. We like a big robust head for those conditions, even though a smaller head would handle the size of trees we work in. We want the strength that the 7000 provides. The Log Max 7000 performs well for us, and it handles wood very well right down to 3.5 inch tops. We also get great dealer support from Log Max Forestry in Moncton, New Brunswick.”

Growing up with a keen interest in forestry and the family business, Craig decided to pursue formal forestry education following high school and he attended the College of the North Atlantic, graduating in 1998 with a Forest Technologist diploma. He then headed off to Sioux Lookout, Ontario, to work as a logging foreman.

“That was a very rewarding work experience,” said Craig. “It was an opportunity to work with a talented group of people—a very positive work and learning experience.”

In 2001, Craig returned to the family business, to handle layout and logging supervision while Dave Reid was sidelined for a hip replacement. As it turned out, the move was permanent. In 2009, as the second generation Northwest owners were looking toward retirement, Craig and Trevor began the process of assuming management tasks and buying into the business. In the current operation, Craig focuses on business management, while Trevor handles supervision of mechanical operations.

Craig’s brother, Chad, joined the business about five years ago, working as a mechanic, while Dave Reid (no direct relation to the owners) continues to be a core talent with Northwest, handling multiple assignments from mechanical support to assisting on harvest layouts.

Logging supervisor Chris Durew has a relatively short two-year history working for Northwest. As a more recent graduate from the College of the North Atlantic forestry program, Chris handles much of the layout and logging supervision tasks, in addition to applying his technical talents to the like of FPDat and GPS.

His tasks include flagging block boundaries, and watercourse and wetlands buffers, guided by mapping provided by Kruger. His responsibilities also extend to identifying and flagging caribou and pine marten travel corridors.

All of the production machines are equipped with FPDat recorders. In addition to tracking machine productive time, the system also provides GPS mapping and tracking. Each week, Craig downloads data from each machine and presents a report to mill staff. Additionally, each machine and service and supervisor truck is equipped with a VHF radio.

“Our contract obliges us to meet at least 75 per cent machine utilization,” explained Craig. “Last year we achieved 84 per cent. I have set our target to 80 per cent utilization. If we fall below that 80 per cent threshold, I figure we have a problem and we have to get it fixed.”

Northwest works with a union crew, running two nine hour shifts. The day shift runs 7 am to 4 pm, followed by 1.5 hours of maintenance. The night shift begin at 5:30 pm and finish at 2:30 am, providing a longer maintenance period for the mechanics. Most of the crew are from the region; some come from the Northern Peninsula to Deer Lake for the week, and then go home weekends. Operators switch day and night shift weekly. All of Northwest’s mechanical servicing and overhauls happen in the woods.

As part of the union contract, Northwest is required to provide transportation to the worksite, and they operate two Chevy Suburbans to shuttle the operators into the operations.

Contractors in Newfoundland face the same challenges as forestry contractors all across the country in regards to keeping talented operators in the seats.

“In the past few years, we’ve seen operators heading to Labrador and the oil patch in western Canada for higher pay. Until things in Labrador opened up, a union job operating harvester was a high paying job in this end of the country, but we now lose operators to higher pay in Labrador.”

In Newfoundland, harvester operators must attain basic track and engine Class 8 certification before they begin training as harvester operator. Kruger handles harvester training, beginning with classroom and simulator training, which is evaluated weekly. At the end of the six week training period, the candidate operators get an overall evaluation, and if they pass, they can begin working for a contractor.

Northwest moves operations three to four times per year, essentially working in areas with a lot of wet ground after freeze up, better-drained ground in the spring and steeper and more challenging ground through the summer.

Kruger handles permanent road building, basically burying debris with native material from ditches, and then hauling ballast to finish it off. Northwest operates a Cat 320 excavator to build temporary winter roads, following up with decommissioning the temp roads following the harvest.

The forest resource Northwest operates in runs 75 to 80 per cent balsam fir and the balance basically black spruce. Craig explained that in central parts of the province there tends to be a bit higher proportion of black spruce.

Northwest’s harvest blocks are typically 60 to 70 year-old fir with volume somewhere around 170 cubic metres per hectare. Because stands are even aged and in a mature state, practically speaking, all harvesting is a total removal clearcut. Reforestation is for the most part by natural regeneration. Cutovers are assessed a few years following harvest to determine if fill planting is required. Cutover stands that had a high component of spruce are a likely candidate for scarification and planting.

White pine and yellow birch are considered rare forest species and are left on harvest sites to shed seed and sustain species on the landscape. Provincial regulations also require the retention of at least 10 wildlife trees greater than eight centimetres dbh per hectare.

There is speculation about a wood pellet business starting on Newfoundland’s east coast involving the former Abitibi woodlands; Craig says this would be a positive omen for the entire Newfoundland forest industry, since low grade fibre demand is a central part of the forestry industry.

While Newfoundland has witnessed a decline in the pulp and paper industry with both mill and paper machine closures, Craig continues to have confidence in their business future with Kruger, stating that their business relationship remains strong— and the future looks promising.