Working in the Woods: A History of Logging on the West Coast


304 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55017-072-4
DDC 634.9'8'097'1






Reviewed by Ken A. Armson

Ken A. Armson, a former executive co-ordinator of the Ontario Ministry
of Natural Resources’ Forest Resources Group, is currently a forestry


This history of logging on B.C.’s West Coast from 1860 to the present
begins with a brief description of the coastal forests. Successive
chapters deal with the development of logging and are divided into
intervals based on the main means or technology used. These range from
the use of oxen and horses to steam power, railways, truck logging,
mechanization, and present-day methods. As Drushka succinctly puts it,
“The essence of logging involves two basic tasks: knocking ’em down,
and dragging ’em out.”

The book also discusses how changes in technology affected the
exploitation of West Coast forests, and the importance of the sea in
logging (especially transportation). But the focus is on the loggers.
Almost every page contains extensive quotations from loggers and
photographs of men, equipment, and facilities.

Drushka’s prose is clear and relatively free of jargon. Although a
glossary would have been helpful, there are illustrations of many of the
terms and others are well explained in the text. For anyone interested
in the origins and development of West Coast logging, this book is a
must read. Others will find it an illuminating account of activities
that, although confined to a small region of Canada, have been
historically, economically, and culturally of national significance.


Drushka, Ken., “Working in the Woods: A History of Logging on the West Coast,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 15, 2024,