North Country at Work: An Adirondack logger continues to work in the forest

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The wood and forest industry in Nordland has a rich and historic past. And while the heyday of logging into the Adirondacks is over, hundreds of people in the area still make a living from cutting trees in the forest. Evan Nahor, 24, is one of them.

Amy celebrationNorth Country at Work: An Adirondack logger continues to work in the forest

Photo courtesy Evan Nahor. Long Lake, NY.

An early start

Evan Nahor grew up outside of Old Forge in Thendara and has always loved the forest. He had family members who worked in forestry, and in high school he worked for a logging company. He went to college at the University of Maine but would come home to the Adirondacks every summer and work for a lumberjack in Long Lake.

He says he “kind of fell in love with Long Lake” and moved to Long Lake after graduating from high school.

Nahor works for an Adirondack contractor, Thomas Donnelly Logging, who works primarily between Long Lake and Tupper Lake. He says it was a natural fit for him because he’s always been in the “forest industry” and in the forests where he has always loved to recreate.

“And I’ve always been interested in machines,” he admits, “and, to be honest, interested in heavy machines, so this way of pursuing a career in the forest has turned into me.”

A day in the woods

A hundred years ago, Nahor would have used hand tools and horses. As a modern woodcutter, he works on a much larger scale. It’s more technical and involves a lot more heavy machinery.

But one thing has not changed. spent long days out in the woods. Nahor says he works with a small crew, usually “just me and two others”. They spend 9 to 10 hour days “dumping, loading trucks, chopping wood, and usually sending loads to the mill by 4 a.m. each day.”

Nahor says that he loves the intensity and physical nature of logging and that he is never stuck in a booth. His office is outdoors.

“If you don’t bring it, you don’t have it. Oh, I forgot my water bottle and have to run back to the store. You are not bothered by anyone, you work out there. Hard work but very rewarding looking at a pile of wood at the end of each day. “

Constant problem solving

The company Nahor works for does not cut the forest. They cut selectively to preserve the forest and prevent erosion. Selective harvesting of timber and bringing it out onto the street results in constant problem solving, which is Nahor’s favorite pastime.

Recurring problems include, “Okay, we have to bring an eighteen-wheeled vehicle over here and turn it around” and “We have to build a road, build a landing, build a turn!”

Nahor says that in winter they often use roads that are barely walkable in summer. It takes a lot of work to make them passable.

“Drain it, unplug it, fetch the water so we can pack some snow in, and then it freezes so it’s hard enough to keep a lumber truck going.”

Photo courtesy Evan Nahor. Long Lake, NY.

Pandemic paper demand

The coronavirus pandemic didn’t change Nahor’s job, but it did change how much he worked in 2020. The demand for paper fell in the spring and has remained low. These are smaller orders from one of Donnelly’s major customers, the International Paper Mill in Ticonderoga.

Nahor says his company and other regional logging companies have turned to other jobs to make ends meet, like excavation and demolition work.

This summer Nahor devoted more time to his side appearance, a small firewood splitting and delivery company, also because of shorter working hours.

Now he’s back in the forest almost the whole day, fighting a logger’s greatest opponent – the unpredictable weather.

“A truck got stuck twice today. We had to play around, reset a culvert because the truck was driving through the culvert. It sure is an adventure every day. ”