The forests of Central Newfoundland are littered with the relics of 125 years of forestry and logging. The forests of the area have been exploited for at least that long. The chances of you finding the site of one of the early logging camps is unlikely since most of these sites have long since grown over and even camps of lesser vintage have been obliterated from view by alders.
But if you venture into the woods and into the alder beds you can still find some of the later remnants left by commercial logging operations. Some of note include the cab of a pallet track from the 1960’s or 70’s still displaying red paint and the Price Newfoundland logo, a steel winch boat-hauled up and left to rust on the side of a lake, if you look around there are tractor parts and tractor sleds everywhere-the metal runners of which litter the woods, I have even heard of there being a tow behind grader in the Sandy Lake area.
I suppose it will only be a matter of time before all of this discarded junk become artifacts. To the best of my knowledge there has yet to be an archaeological dig on any former logging sites in Central Newfoundland.
My father has a cabin on one of these old sites-In Badger Division, near Noel Paul Brook. The camp that was situated there dated from the period 1956-1963, right in the middle of the IWA strike. In fact CBC did an interview from this camp during the strike. I have spent hours poking around, always looking down looking for old relics. I have found all kinds of stuff: bed frames, “Giant” Stoves used to heat the camps (at least four of them!), buck saw frames, Maculloch chainsaw bodies and bars, countless parts from tractor sleds (but strangely enough not a single horseshoe!), old bottles, a tube of Brylcream and even the track from a Caterpillar tractor.
From the stuff found around the camp I have figured the logging camp had been there in the late fifties (buck saw and chainsaw parts). From hearsay and research I found out that the camp was run by Clayton Holloway, who was originally from Bloomfield Bonavista Bay, but lived in Badger and that one of my great uncles had worked in that same camp. Within a twenty kilometer radius there were a number of other camps and reportedly a garage for Newfoundland Tractor. And this is just in one small area. There were dozens maybe hundreds of camps constructed and used over the course of one hundred years.
At the Grand Falls-Windsor Heritage Society I found forestry maps belonging to AND CO which actually illustrated which blocks in the area were cut with the corresponding year marked on them.
Those maps were available because of the closure of the biggest relic of them all. The Grand Falls pulp and paper mill was closed in March of 2009 after almost one hundred years of production. I can only venture to guess what kind of relics are going to turn up as they begin the process of demolition and remediation. Nothing would surprise me considering the fact that a locomotive was recovered there in the late 1970’s, but that is another topic altogether.
I would like to thank Glen Fewer for permission to use his pictures for this post.