Workshop Spotlights Small-Scale Forwarding

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On March 17, 2018, twenty landowners joined Vermont Family Forests to get a close-up look at the practical opportunities and constraints for small-scale forwarding. We met at Krawczyk family forest, where Mark and Ammy Krawczyk had carefully felled and stacked about 10,000 board feet of primarily white pine logs from an acre of their forest.

The pine was old-field pine–very limby and of low value in the forest products marketplace,where it would have been marketed as pulp. Mark plans to bring in a portable sawmill and mill the logs into beams and sheathing for a new barn. He will assemble the beams green and then apply the sheathing partially air-dried. He plans to erect and sheathe the barn this summer. Back in the forest, the small patch cut creates an area of early successional habitat.

With his tractor and small forwarding trailer, Dudley Leavitt forwarded several trailer loads of logs during the workshop, circling from the patch cut site to the log landing by the Krawczyks’home on a carefully laid out loop access trail. The forwarding equipment allowed Dudley to sort the logs on the landing, which greatly help Mark’s upcoming milling process. Using a forwarder rather than a skidder keeps the logs clean and greatly reduces soil disturbance.

It couldn’t have been better conditions for the workshop and for the forwarding. Temperatures dropped and we got a good dump of snow just before the workshop, hardening the trail surface. Dudley used the forwarder to lay in brush and small timbers on any soft and mucky spots along the trail.

Mark and Ammy did an exemplary job of prepping both the access network and the logs. When trimming the logs, they left small limbs and tops on site to replenish the soil, and they piled the trimmed logs by the access trail where Dudley could readily access them with forwarding trailer. Mark took VFF’s Game of Logging chainsaw training and said that the course made all the difference in his tree cutting work.

The workshop was a step in the learning process of exploring the possibilities that forwarding presents. We look forward to more explorations with forest landowners to come!

Man operates forwarder, stacked with logs, in a snowy winter forest