|Loggers not passing
down their trade
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,"
Staff Writer Nicole Frey can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14621, or