Making a Name
Parke Logging Inc. has stepped up to the challeneges of logging in Western Montana for over 25 years.
By Jeff Mullins
The company made some changes Charlie and his sons took over the logging business, while William pursued other business holdings and Parke Logging Inc. was born.
A Manageable Size
Today Parke Logging’s stream lined crew sends 12 MMBF of fiber to mills each year. Charlie’s son, Adam, oversees Parke’s three mechanical sides and his son, Grant, drives truck and helps keep an eye on log hauling by the company’s 6 Kenworth trucks and contracted trucks. The company considers its employees to be the best at what they do.
“They want to do a good job, we trust them to do a good job, and they do a good job,” Charlie says. “Their showing initiative, discipline, and dedication in today’s market makes the difference between being successful in logging and having to do something else.”
Although employee issues never completely vanish, Parke has eliminated most of the problems by providing exceptional employee incentives including good pay, health insurance and matching contributions to retirement accounts. At the same time, Parke places his men at the controls of highly productive machinery and expects them to be productive and they are.
Parke Logging pays attention to details and carefully tracks the production and performance of each employee and of each machine they operate. Charlie says this scrutiny benefits the company in several ways. The company now knows:
Charlie Parke adds humorously, “I build the roads because all the other employees are too valuable and productive to push dirt around.”
Clipping and Shipping
A significant portion of Parke’s harvests involve removal of smaller woods for fuels reduction, stand enhancement, wildlife habitat improvement and salvage associated with insect or fire damage. Parke’s “clippers” are particularly suited to quickly removing large volumes of the small wood with minimal soil disturbance and without damaging dominate and co-dominate “leave trees.” Other Timbcos are contracted as needed to meet harvest demands.
Fixed arch grapple skidders swish tree lengths to landings where a log loader stacks them within easy reach of stroke boom processors. Parke yards with Caterpillar 525 and 535 skidders and John Deer 648 and 748 rubber tired machines. A D6 is used to skid the very steep ground, greater than 60 percent slope.
Reducing Processing Bottlenecks
To reduce the slow down, a log loader is used to pre-sort stems prior to processing. As the skidders drop drags at the landing, the loader stacks stems into the various sorts, reducing stroker handling. The increased productivity more than offsets the expense of running the loader.
A 2054 John Deere with a Waratah processor was recently added to Parke’s line up to enable stem processing in the woods to meet the specifications of forest service fuels reduction contracts. Operations manager Allen Bryant says the combo is exceeding their expectations. “It generally produces twice as much wood as either of our slide boom delimbers,” he says.
Threatened Mill Closure Leads to Mill Ownership
Pyramid Mountain Lumber provides jobs for 150 employees and produces 60 MMBF of lumber annually. Flexibility to produce boards, studs, paneling and timbers allows altering output to match market demands thereby increasing profits. Recent modernization and installation of optimizing equipment has made the mill even more competitive.
Parke Logging sells the majority of logs it produces to Pyramid Mountain and the relationship has proven to be mutually beneficial. The benefit also cascades to other area loggers and the community as a whole.
To avoid potential conflict of interest, Adam Parke negotiates the contracts with the mill and largely oversees the details of fulfilling those contracts.
Keeping Good Employees in Down Time
Everyone knows logging is hard work and dangerous work. Likewise, running a small business is hard work and statistics prove most don’t survive.
Thus, being a logging contractor is doubly hard demanding something special from a man to keep going and “to keep it going,” especially when the wave after wave of challenges come. Charlie Parke is the kind of man that has not only survived the challenges but succeeded through them.