Bibliography Background About KRIS

Gualala River Logging History

The scientific record on the Gualala River dates back only to the 1950's but historical photos provide glimpses of the river at an earlier time and pieces of useful information about land management. Logging on the Gualala began in the 1850's and photos document the transition from oxen logging, to use of steam donkeys, to railroad logging and final tractors and trucks. Photos provided courtesy of the Mendocino Historical Society and the Held Poage Memorial Home and Research Library. From the collection of Robert Lee. Click on the images to view at full size.

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.This photo shows a 17 foot diameter tree being logged on March 4, 1906 in lower Rockpile Creek. Active fallers Ben Anaya and Gus Ingman are to the right and left of un-identified men standing on cut surface. Note that the fallers have written their names on the tree. (#03900 Glover) Oxen were still in use in the Gualala woods around the turn of the 20th Century. Cecil Gasper (at right with goad stick) was the bull puncher and at far right is a Chinese man with water buckets over his shoulders. His job was to run in front of the team and keep the skid road wet and slippery. (#03903, Escola). This picture shows a logging crew in the Gualala Woods about 1905 and a streambed near the upper center paved with log sections (corduroy road). Needless to say, this was very bad for fish habitat and left a legacy of problems. This location is thought to be Doty Creek not far from the coast. (#05263, MCGS).


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This picture shows a typical railroad landing in Gualala Woods about 1902. The big man in the front at left is Chester Byrne, the steam donkey engineer. The combination of mechanized yarding and the railroad increased the speed and efficiency of forest harvest. (#L-3932, Pellacio) This picture shows a view of the inside of the Westside Gualala Mill Company with a working band saw near the turn of the 20th Century. Note that the log is over eight feet in diameter. Interior photos are rare because of the need for extremely bright lights to use cameras of the day. (#07008-P, MCGS) The photo above shows the first logging truck in use in the Gualala Woods in 1941 in the Little North Fork Gualala River. This was some of the first use of trucks for logging on the north coast, which became more prevalent after WW II.  (#05264, McNamee)