By Lindsay Mohlere
Long-time Coos Bay logging company D & H Logging Inc. was formally awarded ODF’s 2020 Southwest Oregon Operator of the Year at the virtual Oregon Board of Forestry meeting January 6, 2021.
The award recognizes forest operators who, while harvesting timber or doing other forestry work, protect natural resources at a level that goes above and beyond requirements of the Oregon Forest Practices Act. The award also underscores the difficulties and challenges D & H Logging faced while harvesting the Camp Creek unit.
According to Brad Haga, co-owner of D & H, the Camp Creek job had more than a few head- scratching moments. Not only did D & H have to minimize the disruption of traffic on the road below the harvest site and protect the trees bordering the salmon stream, they also had a small time window from October to February to complete the job before the start of spring nesting season for three important bird species — the Marbled Murrelet, the Osprey, and the Northern Spotted Owl.
“When I first looked at the job, [we had] a paved BLM road in the bottom and a class one salmon stream right behind that. And then at the top of the unit, you got 100-foot bluff right up to the landing. On top there were little bitty landings that were rocked for winter work. They were rocked, but you would have to hang across the canyon, across that road and the stream, and up on state or BLM ground,” says Haga. “We had to be careful with those trees too, because they wanted to make sure you didn’t tear any limbs out of the trees that could be potential Marbled Murrelet nesting grounds.”
Unique Solutions for Unique Difficulties
Because of the 100-foot ridge and small landing sites, yarding uphill would have been too hazardous with the possibility of falling debris impacting the crew underneath.
“I looked at that and knew it wasn’t going to work,” says Haga. “My whole idea was to try and take as much down as we could, but I had to get the contract administrator to buy into that. Fortunately, his suggestion was about the same.”
The chose option was yarding downhill with the equipment on or near the road, which presented another set of challenges.
“We had to get along with the BLM road crew, because we didn’t want to tear up their paved road and deal with traffic in and out of there — it’s a through road you can get from Loon Lake over to Elkton. And then also it was hunting season, and the Camp Creek area is a good hunting area, so we had more traffic up there,” explains Haga.
“We set up in different spots along the bottom. Did quite a bit of ground base, felled the timber down the hill so we could grab as much as we possibly could on the benches above the road and then set up the yarder on the pavement and yarded it downhill and tried to keep the processor and log loaders off the pavement,” he adds.
To protect the pavement, Haga sent his belly dump to the mill to pick up a few loads of bark. They dumped the bark on the road, flattened it out, and set the equipment on it. They also utilized some big rubber belting that came from an old nickel plant when it shut down. The crew laid that out on the road to walk the iron without damaging the surface.
Haga admits the work was challenging, but it was nothing new to his crews. “Taking care of the forest is the way they’ve always done business. That road was a well-travelled road. We cleaned up the road, the ditch line, and the culverts. The BLM was very satisfied it was done correctly,” he said.
60 Years and Still Kicking
D & H Logging was founded in 1959 by partners George Domenighini and Brad’s father, Neil Haga. After 27 years of working together, the partners split in the mid-80s, and Neil continued D & H Logging. The company again changed hands in the early 90s, when the Haga kids took over the business from their parents.
The company is owned by Brad, brother Gary, and sister Leslie Anderson. “We have three companies actually,” says Brad. “We have Young’s Trucking, D & H Logging, and Haga Properties. I’ve been here 43 years, Gary’s been here 45, and Leslie’s been here 30.”
Employing approximately 20 people, including truck drivers, they are currently running two yarder sides. “We usually run one yarder and a shovel side if we got a lot of shovel ground, but right now we don’t have any shovel ground, so we’re running two yarder sides to keep everything going. We actually have three yarders. We have two Thunderbird swing yarders. Back in ‘05, we were running five sides and just running ourselves crazy. And then in ‘08 when the housing market fell, we went down to one side,” says Haga.
Currently, D & H is putting “new life” into a 70 Thunderbird originally built in 1981. According to Haga, it was one of the first ones with a 90-foot hoist, and it has been quite a project.
“It was on rubber. It’s on tracks now. It has a new cab on it. We went through all the bearings, the transmission, 60 series Detroit engine, all the radiators, and the whole deal. We’re building on the guarding package and tower that actually tips the other way. It’s kind of a fun project, and we’re building it the way we want it. We’ve done yarder logging long enough that we know how we want it. And we’ve got some good guys working for us that do some great fabrication.”
He says they have been working on it for two years whenever there is available time and money, and it should be operational next year.
In addition to the two yarders, a Thunderbird TSY 200 swing yarder and a Thunderbird 255 with a skyline and Bauman carriage, D & H also fields two Link-Belt 290 log loaders, a Link-Belt 290 equipped with a GP head, and a Link-Belt 370 also equipped with a GP head.
“We run mainly Link-Belts. We have a good relationship with Triad machinery Inc. and Pierce Pacific Mfg Inc. It’s all just who takes care of you,” says Haga. “They’re also good friends.”
Included in the D & H equipment stable is a 2454 John Deere paired with a Pierce stroke delimber and a 3800 Madill shovel loader.
D & H, along with Young’s Trucking, has a fleet of trucks that handle most of the hauling for the company. In most cases, felling is contracted out to Kralicek Logging who did the falling on the Camp Creek job.
D & H successfully tackled a big challenge and received ODF’s Southwest Oregon Operator of the Year award to prove it. But they aren’t resting on their laurels. D & H is ready for whatever project lies ahead.
ON THE COVER
D&H Logging getting it done with its lineup of Link-Belts.
ODF Taps D & H Logging for SW Oregon Operator of the Year
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