By Rachel Ori
The lush tracts and tree plantations sandwiched between North Cascades National Park and Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington State have been home ground for Hiett Logging Inc. for nearly 70 years.
Founded in 1953, Hiett Logging is a third-generation logging company that operates out of Skagit County, a little more than 100 miles from Seattle. The growing company specializes in clear-cut logging, road maintenance, removing hazard trees for homeowners, and new home site prep work.
Shane Hiett is the third-generation family member now running the business. His grandfather, Roy, founded the company, and Shane and his father, Jeff, are still working side by side.
Most days, the small team at Hiett Logging can be found harvesting trees at a designated tract or clear-cut area. The company produces sawlogs, which are transported by truck to a pulp mill for processing, and logs that are made into telephone poles.
As a smaller company, Hiett Logging prioritizes customer satisfaction. Often, when picking up jobs, the team is dealing directly with the landowners they are doing the job for.
“We want to make sure that the people we work for are happy with the quality of work we do,” Shane Hiett says. “We do what we can within our limits to make that happen.”
Hiett explains that the timber market in the Northwest has varied during the last couple of years. With only two major sawmills in his area, it can be difficult for the company to find enough work. Going into the winter months, many landowners don’t hire work for erosion or road control.
“Currently, the job we’ve started is something that is a little farther away than our usual area, but we didn’t have much else to go to,” he says.
The job is located at Stossel Creek in Duvall, Washington, about 30 miles northeast of Seattle. Used for recreation as well as logging, the 154-acre Stossel Creek forest features walking and biking trails. The specific site is owned by the government and billed as a “forest for the future.” The patch of land that Hiett Logging employees are working is roughly 10 acres.
For this project, the typical workday for Hiett Logging employees begins early in the morning, with the Doosan log loaders processing and stacking logs well before 8:00 a.m. The machines work on an incline, with harvested logs left near the bottom of the site to be collected. Throughout the day, as trucks roll in to haul away the finished logs, you can find Shane Hiett assisting wherever he is needed, whether that’s helping secure the harvested logs on the trucks or showing a new hire around the site.
Hiett acknowledges that he and his team will not be the last people working in this field once they finish the project later this year. Washington State has some of the most strict forestry laws in the country, and the harvested area of the forest must be replanted within three years.
“Eventually, someone will come by and replant, allowing for the growth to continue,” he says.
Doosan Enters the Picture
Hiett Logging has been operating Doosan equipment since 2013 with the purchase of their DX300LL log loader. Hiett says they mounted a processing head to the log loader, which became their “Number one processor.”
A strong and dependable machine, the DX300LL log loader is well suited for all-day forestry work. It features a fully guarded, heavy-duty undercarriage and upper structure designed specifically for forestry applications.
“We were in the market for something new, and we wanted something that was capable of doing the job,” Hiett says. “We figured it was the most bang for our buck.”
Extended maintenance intervals and easy access to service points increase machine uptime and productivity of the Doosan DX300LL-5. Examples include centralized grease points, wide side access doors for cleaning the cooling system, boom pivot bushings with greasing intervals, and a large-capacity engine air precleaner that removes more than 99% of airborne particles and extends filter cartridge service life.
The company also owns a DX225LL log loader, which is used to move and stack the finished logs. It features a fully guarded, high-walker undercarriage and upper structure that are designed to hold up to all-day forestry jobs. The operators at Hiett Logging enjoy the comfortable cab with ample foot space and better visibility.
Hiett estimates that both of their Doosan log loaders have more than 12,000 hours on them, adding, “We have a few issues here and there, but compared to some of the other brands of equipment we’ve had and used, we’ve had really good luck with these.”
When the occasional issue does arise, Hiett Logging’s dealer, Cascade Trader of Chehalis, Washington, is always there to support them. Hiett’s main contact at the dealership is Shannon Pesicka, who according to Hiett would “come at the drop of a hat if we needed something. And we’re a three-hour drive from the dealership.”
Hiett Logging fields a crew of 12, including Shane and his father. In addition to the Doosan machines, they also use a Tigercat 855 feller buncher, a Madill swing yarder, and a Kenworth logging truck.
A Family Affair
Despite the challenges, Hiett knew from a young age that he wanted to one day take over the family business. Growing up, he assisted on projects after school and on weekends.
“I officially started when I was 18,” Hiett says. “Sometimes I’m running one crew while my dad runs the other. Sometimes I turn wrenches—whatever needs to be done to keep things flowing in the right direction.”
Hiett and his wife welcomed a baby boy earlier this year, and while he says that he won’t push his son into the family business, his son is sure to grow up around logs. With a strong crew and dependable machines, Hiett is confident that the family business will continue to grow for years to come.
“The team wants to do a good quality job. We enjoy what we do,” he says.
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