Logging in the dense forests of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula is challenging work. Steep mountainous terrain and twisting gravel roads make a logging truck’s daily commute long and treacherous. It rains more than 200 days of the year, dumping 10 to 12 feet of rainfall. Brisk winds from the nearby Pacific Coast add another degree of difficulty. Despite all these obstacles, Dahlgren Logging Inc. has harvested timber here in the mountains and canyons for nearly 60 years.
Headquartered in the small town of Forks, Washington, Dahlgren Logging was founded in the early 1960s by Joel and Ingrid Dahlgren. Today, four generations of Dahlgrens keep the company humming. Pete Dahlgren runs the company now, with family members involved every step of the way, from the logging site to the office. The operation runs like clockwork, cutting and hauling 17,000 truckloads of logs each year from private landowners. And at 88 years old, Joel can still be found outdoors putting in a full day’s work.
When early settlers harvested timber near Forks nearly 100 years ago, they used teams of oxen. Nowadays, the heavy lifting is done by logging equipment with powerful engines. Dahlgren Logging has a full arsenal of equipment at its disposal. “We can tackle just about any job. We’ve got a crew of 40, along with logging trucks, loaders, bulldozers, and eight yarder towers. We’re actually one of the few tower loggers left,” says Pete Dahlgren.
Capable of hauling a 150-foot, five-ton tree from more than 5,000 feet away, the Berger-manufactured tower yarder is a true force in the forest, making logging and timber transportation easier for Dahlgren Logging.
Weighing in at 160,000 lbs. and towering 110 feet above the forest floor, Dahlgren’s Berger M2R yarder tower is the second-largest in the world. This heavy-duty machine is equipped with a backup camera system, a 48,000-lb. tower that extends from 78 feet to 110 feet high, and a main cable drum that houses 5,000 feet of 1 3/8-inch diameter cable. The tower is key for Dahlgren’s operation, and when it came time for a repower, a Detroit Diesel Series 60 engine from MTU distributor Pacific Power Group was the top choice.
Qualified for the Job
“We’ve got 13 loaders that run on the Series 60—and most of them are factory remanufactured. We’ve been pleased with their performance. So, we decided to switch to the Series 60 for our yarder tower,” says Pete Dahlgren.
Hauling heavy trees from the forest requires an engine that can handle heavy stress and long operational hours, making Series 60 engines from Pacific Power Group perfect for the job. The engine’s reliable performance and superior construction make them well suited to challenging conditions. The 630 HP Series 60 remanufactured engine selected for this yarder tower provides the performance, smooth operation, low maintenance, and extreme power and torque that’s required for logging the tough terrain around Forks, Washington.
Off to a Flying Start
The repowered yarder tower has been hard at work in the forest since January 2017. Recently Joe Grycko from Pacific Power put it through its paces and analyzed its engine data.
“This is quite a step up. When the yarder throttles up to fourth gear, running 1800-2000 rpms, those logs are flying up the hill at 60 mph on those cables. The cable drum spins at a very high rate of speed with the new drivetrain,” says Grycko. “The original transmission was a Berger 3-speed only. Now, they have a 6-speed Allison transmission provided by UST and much more horsepower, which translates into faster line speed and more production.”
In addition, this machine has a unique cooling package provided by Hart Radiators in Longview, Washington, that incorporates a state-of-the-art hydraulic driven fan. This system uses a micro-processor that will reverse the fan blade direction under operation that keeps the logging debris and dust cleaned out of the fins on the radiator, which in turn lengthens the service time for this component. It also varies the speed of the fan depending on cooling requirement, all across the J1939 data link from the engine.
Gryko has the highest praise for the Dahlgrens. “They were the real force behind this project. This yarder has been “flying” logs out of the deep canyons of the Olympic Peninsula for the last year at a record pace with absolutely no issues, which is one hell of an accomplishment of a rebuild by a local logging family.”
“Logging is not a straight line. We go up a hill, then down a hill. When there’s a slowdown in any part of that process, you’re not making any money,” says Dahlgren. “The yarder tower is our most important piece of equipment. Now, it’s bringing the wood up the hill much faster. Our landing site gets buried in logs, and we can barely get enough trucks up there to carry them away. It’s doing what it needs to do, and doing it well.”
Grycko adds, “Dahlgren’s Logging has been making daylight since 1966 with an incredible machine that was built a long time ago, and will live on!”
The Berger towers go back to 1950, when Berger built the first portable logging spar for Allum Brothers in Eugene, Oregon. Two years later Berger built a second portable yarding spar, which attracted a lot of attention.
In 1953, Berger pioneered the lattice-design towner and the next year built the first 90-foot Porta-Tower. By 1956, the company was building the first 100-foot Porta Tower and in 1962 came out with the cylindrical telescoping tower.
After that, there was no stopping them!
On the Cover
Lindsey R. Mohlere captures David Jackson operating a CAT 325D paired with a Log Max 10000 processing head
NW Strike Teams Battle Fire Northwest strike teams demobilize after fighting the Thomas Fire.
First on the Slope
Siegmund Excavation & Construction offer full-service, steep-slope logging.
Taking a Chance on Changes
Tri-Star Logging had no idea of industry changes when it started out in 1986.
World’s Second-Largest Yarder
Dahlgren’s tower boosts productivity with Series 60 engine repower.
Man on a Mission
Todd Smith’s love of old logging equipment.