Wisconsin Timber Harvests Slow Due To Heavy Rains

Some Loggers Wait For Work As Rains Delay Harvests

Robert F. Bukaty/AP Photo

A wet summer has been making it difficult for Wisconsin’s logging industry to harvest wood, which means less money for loggers who are waiting for work.

Harvesting has slowed as they’ve experience some of the wettest months on record, said Henry Schienebeck, executive director of the Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association.

“When it rains, it doesn’t just rain enough to settle the dust,” he said. “We’re getting an inch, inch-and-a-half, 2 inches at a time. That’s really having an impact right now on the wood inventories.”

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Schienebeck said it’s always a challenge to keep a steady supply of raw material for the mills and loggers.

“A lot of our members are self-employed, but there’s also a lot of employees out there that depend on a weekly or biweekly income coming in,” he said. “When it gets to the point where it’s so wet that they can’t get to work every day, that really disrupts that flow of not only the product, but also the income that those folks are able to bring in on a weekly basis.”

Despite the weather, he said loggers have been trying to stay busy.

“They’re moving a lot of equipment around looking for drier places to work and be able to keep going,” he said.

He noted loggers have also had to contend with road closures or those too wet to withstand heavy loads. Schienebeck expected loggers should have uninterrupted work this fall as wood inventories decline and the region sees drier weather.

The last three months are among the top five wettest on record in Wisconsin, according to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. And the first six months of 2017 were the second wettest on record in Wisconsin.