Hauling & Transporting Wood Safely

Also see: Operating a Chainsaw Safely »

In Alaska there are four different ways to transport firewood: trucks, snowmachines, ATVs and boats. Location and the time of year will determine the best method.

Where roads are numerous and passable, trucks offer two ways to haul firewood—tree length (8’ or longer) or stove length. If you have a long trailer or pickup bed, you can haul tree length firewood, which speeds transportation and allows you to cut stove-length firewood as needed. You can also cut the trees to stove length in the woods and haul them using a pickup truck or a trailer with sides. Whatever the method, you need to develop an eye for the firebox maximum length. You can assure the right size by using a stick to measure. Your method will depend on available equipment, people power and access to the firewood. If you’re hauling alone, you should cut close to the road or into stove lengths. If you have a helper, you could carry tree-length wood to your truck or trailer.

Snowmachines and ATVs (all terrain vehicles) pick up where trucks leave off. Both need to be registered, click here to find out more. A snowmachine can pull a sled full of firewood for long or short distances and can utilize winches to yard logs from the woods. Arctic Cat (5.67 MB file p. 10) recently came out with a cargo sled, 74”(6.17’) long by 38”(3.17’) wide by 17”(1.42’) deep, to haul nearly 1/3 of a cord.

(A stacked cord of firewood is 90 cubic feet so multiply length by width by height for cubic feet and divide by 90 to determine cords).

Freight sleds commonly run 18”-to-36” wide by 6.5’-to-9’ long and 18” high. Trail conditions will determine the load. Important note: snow-machines need extra care because of unpredictable weather and frequent mechanical failures. Always let someone know where you are going and when to start looking for you.

Logs and firewood are hauled by boats and barges. Logs cut 8 feet or longer are easier to stack and handle on barges and in boats. In past years log rafts were strung together and moved downstream after breakup or across open water in lakes and salt water. Log rafts can cause environmental damage to fish and aquatic habitat, may degrade water quality, erode banks, and may be illegal. Individual logs can be tied to boats and moved up or down stream or across open water. When logs are towed by skiffs the tow point should be in front of the rudder (or outboard) to facilitate steering and above the top of the outboard but not so high as to cause the skiff to become top heavy and capsize.

ATVs pick up the slack in spring, summer and fall and are versatile—more wood capacity on limited roads. They can transport material to your truck or from your boat to your home and also replace large logging equipment in remote areas. ATVs also excel at yarding logs (move logs to a central pile) from the forest and then transporting them to your home. These vehicles come in both sport and utility models. Sport models are small and light with two-wheel drive, while utility models feature larger four-wheel drives to haul or carry loads. For instance, you can haul a log directly behind an ATV with a winch kit, load wood onto a cargo rack, use a cargo sled or lift a log off the ground with a special arch.

A number of companies make logging equipment for ATVs, but consider the lay of the land and your needs before buying. One company, Future Forestry Products, Inc., makes an ATV forwarding arch that can lift up to 2,000 lbs. for low impact logging. And BAP Equipment features a line of ATV logging equipment. So, with rising oil prices, you could make firewood harvesting and sales a viable business. Check out the resources of ATV logging below.

Sources of snowmachine freight sleds:

Alaska Mining & Diving Supply, Inc.
3222 Commercial Drive
Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone: (907) 277-1741
Toll-Free (Alaska Only): (800) 478-3444
FAX: (907) 279-6398
Service: (907) 279-6113
E-mail: sales@akmining.com
www.akmining.com/snow/sleds.htm

Logrite Tools
77 Industrial Park Road
Vernon, CT
www.logrite.com

Northern Sled Works
P.O. Box 61171
Fairbanks, AK 99706
Phone: (907) 479-8599
Fax: (907) 479-8585
E-mail: david@northernsledworks.com
www.northernsledworks.com

Tag-A-Long Trailers of Alaska
Anchorage, AK 99501
(907) 344-8451
www.tagalongak.com

Arctic Cat Inc,
601 Brooks Avenue South
Thief River Falls, MN 56701
www.arcticcat.com

Northern Toboggan and Sled
32581 645th Ave. | Warroad, MN 56763
Phone: (218) 386-3005
Fax: (218) 386-2679
Email: sleds@ntsled.com
www.ntsled.com

ATV logging sources:

Future Forestry Products, Inc.
P.O. Box 1083
Willamina, OR 97396
Phone: (888) 258 1445
Fax: (503) 876 4488
E-mail: info@futureforestry.com
www.futureforestry.com

BAP Equipment Ltd.
Phone: (800) 561-3600
Fax: (800) 452-0881
E-mail: info@bapequipment.com
www.bapequipment.com

Montana Jack’s ATV Outpost & Supply
522 Montana Ave.
Libby, MT 59923
Phone: (877) 463-2344
Fax: (406) 293-9511
www.montanajacks.com

Tag-A-Long Trailers of Alaska
Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone: (907) 344-8451
www.tagalongak.com

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