BTB 39: FOCUS ON MANITOBA
Published on: Wednesday 1st April 2015
– Paul Iarocci
Throughout the wild cycles of the last fifteen years, Manitoba’s forestry industry has been quietly chugging along as contractors have been feeding the province’s OSB, pulp and sawmills as well as cutting right-of-way for hydro-electric projects and even harvesting some tracts of privately owned timber.
The first Tigercat machines to appear in Manitoba were the 845 series feller bunchers in 1997-1998. Anderson Logging purchased the second 845 in the province, fitted with a Koehring sawhead. Anderson Logging is a family-run business
based in Cranberry Portage, Manitoba owned by Bob, Barry and Bernie Anderson. Although the brothers have added an 845C and an 860C since, the original 845 is still in service with over 20,000 hours on the clock.
BTB last caught up with Swan River-based Intermountain Logging Ltd., owned by fourth generation logging contractor Darren Atkinson, back in 2007 (BTB issue 17, July 2007). At the time, one of the company’s two crews was working a 60 km (37 mile) right-of-way transmission line forming a portion of the now complete Wuskwatim Generation Project.
Early in 2015, BTB returned to northern Manitoba to see Darren’s new Tigercat H855C harvester fitted with a rebuilt Hornet 10000 processor. Intermountain harvests approximately 200 000 m3 per year in mixed stands. The bulk of the volume is 150 000 m3 of eight foot poplar destined for the Louisiana-Pacific OSB mill in Swan River. On top of that the company harvests 30 000 m3 of sixteen foot spruce for sawmill, Spruce Products Ltd. in Sawn River. The balance is birch and unmerchantable spruce that Intermountain markets itself. The birch goes to firewood and the spruce is sold to Tolko as hog fuel.
All these species and products are ideally suited to the H855C/Hornet combination. Darren appreciates the simplicity of the head; in eight foot wood, the head does not have to rely on the measuring wheel at all, instead it relies on the butt plate to measure the logs. Also key for Darren is the extreme durability and longevity in the tough conditions – crooked, large limbed wood and extreme cold – that the crew faces on a daily basis. For felling duties Darren has been partial to Tigercat 822 series feller bunchers since purchasing the first in 2003. The machine has worked 14,000 hours and is still an integral part of Intermountain’s operations.