Loggers not passing down their trade
 

Nicole Frey
November 19, 2005



VAIL - Tom Olden, owner of Pine Martin Logging, said the anti-logging sentiment is helping to destroy the industry that has helped define his life. While he said he loves the work he does, he's convinced he's working against the clock.

"The industry is dying," he said. "Most of my guys are between 50 and 70 years old."

Logging has traditionally been family-taught, passed down through the generations. But anti-logging sentiment has reduced the number of mills in the country, and younger generations are finding other work, said Olden, whose crews are cutting trees on Vail Mountain.

"Logging - most people are against it or don't understand it," he said. "Forestry should be done based on science, not for political reasons. But, of course, we need to understand the economics of it."

Skidder operator Tad Fry started learning the family trade when he was 7 years old, but he said it's not something he'll pass down. Likewise, Olden won't share his craft with his young son.

Despite his pessimism, Olden said there might be hope if the cities and organizations in the Eagle County worked together to find a way to process the wood locally, which would alleviate the cost of bringing wood to Montrose and make business more lucrative.

He suggested installing a saw mill or biomass plant. There's still wood that needs to be logged. It's the lack of processing that's killing the industry, Olden said. Nonetheless, he appreciates the work he can get.

"The town of Vail and Vail Resorts have been very proactive, but it's get to a point where you can only throw so much money into the fire," Olden said.



Staff Writer Nicole Frey can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14621, or nfrey@vaildaily.com.



Vail, Colorado