Dealing with changing logging logistics

Dealing with changing logging logistics
 August 2021   

If there is a normal work week for logging contractor Tyler Backer these days, it would be roughly organized into twos and threes. Two days in the office and around town tackling essential business there, and three days in the bush getting his boots dirty.

Tyler is owner of Tyler Backer Contracting, Pro-Link Logging and Quesnel Sand and Gravel, all based in Quesnel in British Columbia’s (B.C.) North Cariboo region.

At the age of 36, Tyler has grown up during a technological revolution within B.C.’s forestry industry. The results of that revolution embrace and direct many day-to-day activities. Tyler says he’s always got an eye open for new harvesting equipment developments and techniques that might enhance Tyler Backer Contracting’s efficiency. 

The virtual world that technology makes so readily available is handy for many things –but Tyler still prefers reality when it comes to other parts of the logging contractor’s job. Checking out a new block prior to harvesting is an example. It makes more sense to Tyler to do that in person, slogging it out on the ground the old-fashioned way. It helps him to better understand the lay of the land and identify issues before they can develop into problems. “Being in the bush just helps clear the head out. It works for us,” he says.

Tyler Backer Contracting is a family-rooted business: “We’re a full stump-to-dump logging contractor with all the equipment needed to produce up to 250,000 cubic metres of wood a year,” says Tyler.

That level of wood volume is a long haul from the company’s early days in Quesnel, back in the late 1980s. Tyler recalls one of his Dad, Rob’s, early jobs was running a small skidding contract for Weldwood of Canada, whose operations were later taken over by West Fraser Timber. Besides his Dad, other direct family involvement in the business included Tyler’s sister, Samantha, and his uncle, Ed, who at 72 still works with the company. 

Tyler began his working career in the bush as a high schooler working with his Dad. But later fate was to derail the company’s development and equilibrium. Rob Backer was killed in a road traffic accident in 2009. The younger Backer found himself with a load of responsibilities at the toughest of times. 

“I was so young at 25 and we had no secure contract at the time and we had people to find work for,” he relates. 

Moving forward

The Backer family buckled down and regrouped. This process included forging a key business relationship with West Fraser Timber. Today, Tyler Backer Contracting has an Evergreen contract with West Fraser to supply 140,000 cubic metres of wood a year to the company’s sawmill in Quesnel. The balance of wood the company harvests—up to the 225,000 to 250,000 cubic metre range—is sourced through timber sales and private wood.

Most of the company’s wood is in the Barkerville area, hilly and broken country to the north and east of Quesnel.

“The logging logistics are changing there. We’re doing a lot more moving between smaller blocks and in steeper ground,”...

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