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Wildlife Habitats and Public Land Use Considerations Important to Forestry Operations at B & G Logging
Oregon logger trusts ACME carriages.
By Diane M. Calabrese
Date Posted: 2/3/2015
PHILOMATH, Oregon – Carpe diem; seize the day. That’s one way to sum up the philosophy of Levi Beelart, owner of B&G Logging and Construction, LLC
“There are lots of opportunities,” said Levi. “You’re limited to the opportunities you take.”
From the moment he got started logging in fall 2005, Levi has been making the most of prospects. “I was 18 when I started my first job – still in high school.” He did it with “zero logging experience” and just “some firewood experience as a kid.”
The foundation of B&G Logging grew customer by customer, piece of equipment by piece of equipment. “Backyard jobs” – such as thinning wood lots – are where it began, said Levi. A job at one woodlot belonging to a neighbor led to another job – and so on. “Opportunities arose,” said Levi. And he took them.
During his first year in business, Levi worked a 200-acre tract, which belonged to a single land owner, Nancy Hathaway. It was a conventional logging job, which he completed with a Stihl 460 and a Case 550 dozer. Levi worked the site for almost one year and he worked through the interval in partnership with Paul Gellatly, who now owns Gellatly Logging. (The name of Levi’s company, B&G, comes from that early phase of the business.)
Levi realized quickly that if he were going to continue logging in western Oregon, he would need to be equipped for yarder logging. By the conclusion of his first year in business, he had purchased a yarder in order to make the transition to commercial logging.
In 2014, B&G Logging cut 25 million feet of timber, all of it cut to specific log-length and exacting standards – no broken ends, for instance. Quality standards are established by the mills for which the company cuts. Most of the wood cut is Douglas fir or hemlock.
B&G Logging and Construction has grown rapidly across 9 ½ years in business. But among the many changes, there have been three constants: the reliance on ACME carriages; the commitment to doing everything that’s expected; and the focus on the way logging done right contributes to the health of the environment.
Located in Eugene, Ore., ACME Manufacturing, Inc. is a near-neighbor of B&G. But Levi was looking for an excellent product, not proximity. “I did some research,” he said. “I talked to other loggers.” That’s how he chose ACME.
Today, B&G Logging is using two model 10 and two model 24 ACME carriages. The ACME design is a perfect fit for his operation, said Levi. “ACME has a smaller, lighter carriage.”
The relatively light weight of the ACME carriage is coupled with toughness. “The ACMEs can take a real beating,” said Levi. “They’re really well made but light.”
The last thing a logger needs is downtime. And ACME understands that, explained Levi. “You don’t have a down day. If it breaks, you get it fixed. They’ll stay after hours to get it fixed. Wayne [Van Damme] guarantees all his products for a year.”
Levi’s team communicate with the ACME carriages via Talkie Tooter® radios from Rothenbuhler Engineering, which were purchased through and are maintained by ACME Mfg. The model 10 ACME carriage is ideally suited to convey timber of 12- to 14-inch diameter along the skylines to the yarding site. ACME has a range of carriage models to accommodate timber of different sizes. A Thunderbird TMY yarder and a CAT 330 yoder [yarder plus loader] are in use at B&G.
The 1,000-lb. model 10 ACME carriage incorporates the ACME hydraulic slack pulling system into a frame so compact that it was at one juncture considered not possible. Because it is hydraulic, the slack pulling system helps prevent a burnout on the line, as well as stalls or outright damage to the carriage. In short, the hydraulic system can go over a relief if slack is not given by the yarder engineer.
The 1,450-lb. model 24 ACME carriage has a two-speed adjustable slack puller. It can easily pass over intermediate supports. ACME carriages are in use not only in the United States, but also in Canada, New Zealand and other countries.
Equipment on the B&G roster includes two 290 Link-Belt shovels - each paired with a Waratah 623C head, one 240X2 Link-Belt shovel, one 290 Link-Belt shovel, a John Deere 748 grapple skidder and an 850 CAT with grapples. Some job sites are so steep that hand cutters must move in. B&G contracts with Big D Logging for chainsaw felling.
The first processing head that Levi bought was a Waratah and he has stayed with the brand, purchasing from Triad Machinery, which has several dealer locations in the Pacific Northwest. “The Waratah is reliable and very heavy duty,” he said.
B&G also owns four Kenworth T800 log trucks, one lowboy, two Kenworth 3,000-gallon water trucks, one Kenworth 1,000-gallon water trailer and one Ford 1,000 gallon water tuck. In general, the minimum amount of water required at a job site is 1,000 gallons and the minimum length of hose is 1,000 feet, said Levi. Besides using its own log trucks to deliver to mills, B&G logging contracts with Henry’s Trucking and Per Trucking.
Having equipment on which he can rely is a crucial part of Levi’s commitment to do everything that’s expected of him as an Oregon logger – the second constant at B&G. A new job does not just begin. The permitting, planning and layout phases take as much as a year – sometimes longer.
“You lay out roads, you lay out stream buffers,” said Levi. “You plan your cable corridors and optimal landing site, you consider unit boundaries.” It must be done correctly because it all contributes to the overarching goal of maintaining a diverse and healthy environment – the third constant at B&G, and one that Levi said should be emphasized because too often it is not.
“We do a little bit of everything,” said Levi, explaining the scope of work undertaken by his team of 20 employees. “We top trees to make habitats for birds – owls, osprey. We put in fish-passing culverts for salmon, coho – to help fish-spawning season be longer. We cut the trees. We plant the trees. We prune the trees and thin the trees. A lot of the work is to make a healthier forest.”
Much of the work that B&G does is for government entities. Yet work on private land adheres to strict guidelines established by sustainable forestry practice. For example, in cutting for well-known sawmills such as Seneca Sawmill Company (Seneca Family of Companies) and Hampton Lumber Mills (Hampton Affiliates), B&G works with the foresters on staff at those companies not only to achieve a quality product, but also to leave behind a healthy job site. Reforestation efforts in Oregon lead the nation.
“Tree planting is all done by hand,” explained Levi. Saplings are planted in holes dug with hand-held shovels. “If we’re in an area that has a lot of elk, a biodegradable net” goes around each tree.
“We take a lot of pride in the work that we do, the small details,” said Levi. “We make family wage jobs for everybody. It’s just a good industry for young people to get into.”
With more young people getting into the wood products industry, Levi hopes to see more solid information given about the importance of prudent use of forest resources. It’s up to everyone in the industry to get the conversation going and keep it going, he explained.
“Talk about the good things – fish crossings, bird habitat,” said Levi. “All the public that wants to go birding should know all this ground is open for the public.”
Levi is a member of many professional organizations, including the Associated Oregon Loggers, the American Forest Resource Council and the Oregon Small Woodlands Association. The home base for B&G Logging is Philomath, Ore. The town, which has a population of approximately 4,600, is part of Benton County in the west-central part of the state.
Most job sites for B&G are within a 100-mile radius of Philomath. And they are in the Oregon portion of the Coast Range.
The long-standing relationship that B&G has with ACME Mfg. is one that Levi values. “ACME Manufacturing is a great carriage company,” he said. “It’s a very trustworthy company. There are no surprises – very professional. All the staff at ACME is very helpful.”
Having good relationships with vendors, landowners, foresters, mills and everyone in the industry is a top priority for Levi. “I enjoy working with all the great people in the industry,” he said.
“This is our livelihood,” said Levi, noting that timber harvesting supports vibrant communities and healthy environments. “We don’t just cut trees down. We do stream restoration, culverts, bird habitats, wildlife habitats.”
Levi cites “the great people that stand up for the timber industry” and how happy he is to work among them as one of the many pleasures of his day. In his free time, Levi has some definite interests, which center on family.