Sometimes it takes a horse to get the job done

Horse drawn logging
Horse teams are still in use for logging in special situations, such as small timber or in environmentally or aesthetically sensitive areas. Photo: DNR.

Washington State’s forest practices rules (administered by DNR) guide the use of ground-based harvesting systems. Ground-based systems are generally used on slopes less than 35 percent in Western Washington and less than 50 percent in Eastern Washington. The rules also set skidding distances (how far logs may be dragged) and other important activities.

Among the various ground-based systems is one that is fully non-motorized, but has plenty of horsepower: horses, that is. Horse-drawn harvesting can be useful where the timber is small, there will be only partial harvesting on level ground, and the area is aesthetically or environmentally sensitive.

To help small forest landowners, loggers and natural resource professionals — and the public — understand the rules governing forest practices, DNR publishes the online Forest Practices Illustrated. This publication is an overview of the forest rules that protect public resources as well as water, fish, wildlife and state and municipal capital improvements.

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