Our blog on the Munson Simpson sawmill that operated in Winfield from 1927 to 1929 appeared earlier. Another blog, “Log chutes in Lake Country” discussed the log chute that over a decade earlier had transported logs from Fir Valley to the Oyama bench land and hence to the Johnston and Carswell sawmill at the north end of Kalamalka Lake. This blog focuses on horse logging operations in Fir Valley, an area accessible up the Beaver Lake Road in Winfield. Pete Simpson’s photos are highly instructive.
Logging operated year-round with conditions varying according to the season. Frozen ground in the winter was suitable for hauling logs out of the woods, a feature evident in the picture below. Horse logging was often conducted in steep terrain and required considerable skill on the part of both men and horses. In the photograph below, multiple two-horse teams are seen logging the same congested area. No skid trails are evident.
Once the logs were extracted from the steep hillsides and gullies, the teamsters found terrain more suitable for longer distance transport. Note in the photograph below that the front end of each log was lifted up and mounted on a sleigh while the back end dragged. It appears that a single horse could haul a large log using a sled.
Once the logs were delivered to the yard, they were loaded onto a truck for road transport. See next blog.
By: Dr. Duane Thomson