Don McCune Library

Logging & Railroad History

Logging & Railroad History
90 minutes - $24.95

This DVD includes the three programs describewd below.

Logging and Railroad History
30 minutes - 1978

Exploration Northwest cameras document fifty years of forest history, tracing past and present logging operations at Weyerhaeuser's Camp Vail near Tenino, Washington and Mount Rainier. Photos and 1930's Weyerhaeuser motion picture film of early steam logging highlight the importance of the railroad in the logging industry. The transition to diesel trains and newer logging techniques is told.
The lore and legends of this colorful era are also recalled in interviews with veteran loggers who explain that three blasts on the steam whistle is the signal to pull logs into the yard.

Here's how writer/narrator Don McCune introduces the program: "They call it Vail . . . named after the family of stump ranchers who once owned this piece of land in the shadow of Mt Rainier. Here, where children once played in this apple tree, a town was born and a logging operation; which in the years that followed, added richly to the lore and legend of the Pacific Northwest. Today, Weyerhaeuser Company's Camp Vail, as it is still known, has long since outlived its original purpose, and serves mainly as a storage and maintenance area for heavy equipment and a marshalling point for logging crews who harvest the 240,000-acre tree farm. Yet, looking closely, one can still discover evidence of its colorful past; when logging history was made in the roar of steam and the rumble of mainline 'lokies'! They called it the highballing years, and in a land carpeted by the mightiest trees on earth, the lumberjacks thought it would last forever. Replaced now by logging roads, the steel fingers of rails no longer probe the timbered slopes of the Skookumchuck watershed. And while the progress of that lively era is still marked by a few old trestles, they serve only to remind us that forever is a long, long time." Originally aired under the KOMO title "Three To Go Ahead".

Big Timber
30 minutes - 1971

Morton Loggers Jubilee A nostalgic flashback to the days when high-riggers ruled the big forests, this episode was filmed with the St. Regis Timber Company near Morton, Washington. Highlights from the 1971 Morton Loggers Jubilee add flavor to this story logging of techniques of the past and present day.

Here's an excerpt from the program by writer/narrator Don McCune: "Three-quarters of a century ago, the land where the town of Morton Washington now stands was a virgin forest with a few Indian trails along the banks of the rivers leading into the more open country of the Big Bottom. The stand of timber was so heavy that pioneers complained that the only way you could see the sky was to look straight up! Today they're stilling logging virgin timber around Morton, and each year in August the town celebrates its birthright at the Morton loggers Jubilee. Like many other Northwest logging towns, the big name around Morton is Pseudotsuga menziesii, the botanical name for Douglas Fir. Described by botanists first as a pine, then as a fir, but actually is neither, over the years this contradictory conifer has played a major role in the state's number one industry, an industry born of tides of timber that challenged the sky and men who could judge the lean of a tree with an ax handle; who could place the undercut with the precision of a slide rule."

Looking Back: The Life Of Don McCune
30 minutes - 1993

This KOMO-TV special, hosted by Dick Foley, looks at Don McCune's remarkable 50-year broadcast career with clips from The Captain Puget Show, Challenge and Exploration Northwest. Includes interviews of film crew and family, and some humorous out-takes from Exploration Northwest.

Even though Don had retired from KOMO 12 years earlier, KOMO TV produced this the week Don died in response to the flood of calls from fans.