Logging operations in Wisconsin try to recover from rain
OCONTO, Wis. — Logging crews in northern Wisconsin are trying to make up for rainy weather that has slowed down their operations.
Logging experts told WLUK-TV that it typically takes three or four days of dry weather for the ground to be parched enough for trucks to operate on logging roads.
Wild Rivers Forestry forester Matt Huempfner said tractors with four-wheel drive are needed to move around job sites. He said the heavy vehicles have a difficult time maneuvering when there’s moisture in the ground.
“The trucks come in weighing about 98,000 pounds on their way out,” Huempfner said. “So, it’s really it’s pretty hard for them to get in and out of jobs where if you have any type of moisture in the ground.”
Logs are being stacked outside until conditions improve and allow for equipment to move them, Huempfner said. Wood continues drying out the longer it sits in a pile, which negatively affects loggers because they’re paid according to the wood’s weight, he said.
The wet weather has affected the bottom line of many logging operations in the region, timber experts said.
“I’ve actually checked with a few, and I’m hearing 25 to 30 percent, they’re down in their gross income from a year ago even,” said Henry Schienebeck, executive director of the Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association.
Some loggers have resorted to taking wood that’s meant to be harvested next year, Schienebeck said.
Logging crews across the state are taking advantage of any brief rain-free periods of time.
“We’ll keep whittling away at it,” Huempfner said. “Whenever we get a couple days of dry weather together, we’ll try to haul some wood out.”